A Dark Day for Mortgage Competition. Competition Bureau Approves RBC's Takeover of HSBC Canada.

"HSBC Canada offered market-leading rates," the Competition Bureau wrote today, with respect to RBC's bid for the company.

Observe the word "offered" — in the past tense because, barring a miracle deal blocker from the Minister of Finance, Canadians may soon never see HSBC's leading rates again.

The Competition Bureau has officially approved RBC's takeover, despite outcry from consumer advocates and overwhelming evidence of HSBC's leadership position in products like mortgages.

"HSBC Canada personnel viewed their own mortgage business as a 'rate disruptor' in the Canadian market, and pursued a strategy focused on low publicly-posted rates," the Bureau wrote in its report to the Minister of Finance.

In fact, HSBC systematically advertised Canada's lowest and most transparent uninsured mortgage rates since 2016. The Competition Bureau failed to mention that, however. Instead, it noted that RBC documents indicated that HSBC Canada "often issued below market rates" on mortgages. If ever there was an epic understatement from a Canadian law enforcement agency, that might take the cake.

MLN's latest Canadian Mortgage Rate Survey shows HSBC with Canada's lowest nationally advertised uninsured mortgage rates in the:

  • 2-year term, at 6.54%
  • 3-year term, at 6.29%
  • 5-year term, at 5.94%
  • Variable market, at 6.40%
  • HELOC market, at 7.20%

HSBC can hold its head high. It has not only been Canada's most formidable national uninsured mortgage competitor for the past seven years but also its most transparent.

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