More Canadians are worrying about the economy and over half are cutting discretionary spending

 TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – COVID-19’s impact on the economy is causing many Canadians to worry about the future: 79 per cent of respondents in CIBC’s Financial Priorities Poll say they are concerned about continued recessionary times next year, compared to 55 per cent who said they feared an economic downturn in a December 2019 survey.

Economic worries may be a factor in why many Canadians are adjusting their financial habits.

Many respondents (63 per cent) say they have significantly cut down on discretionary spending and more than half (55 per cent) agree they need to get a better handle on their finances this year.

“It’s understandable that Canadians are worried about the economy and are feeling uncertain about the impact on their ambitions, but this is a time when good financial advice conversations are most valuable, including assessing your overall situation, looking at opportunities to improve cash flow, and adjusting your financial plan if necessary,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Group Head, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. “It’s a positive sign that many Canadians are taking a responsible approach to the situation by making changes to their spending and working to limit unnecessary debt. Good cash flow management now can help you through the current situation, and over the longer term free up funds to divert towards savings or other goals.”

The survey also found that 46 per cent of Canadians say the economic impact of the pandemic has adversely affected their finances and a similar number (47 per cent) feel it will take more than a year to get their personal finances back on track. Canadians are prioritizing building an emergency fund in 2020, citing this as a top goal for the remainder of the year, followed by steering clear of adding on debt. Of the 22 per cent of respondents who’ve had to borrow more in the past 12 months, the number one reason was for day-to-day items (38 per cent) followed by a loss of income (28 per cent).

“The impact of the pandemic will be felt by Canadians for some time. While we have a long way to go to get back to a normal economy, taking charge of your finances now with a savings and debt management plan is an important step towards putting your personal finances back on track,” added Ms. Dottori-Attanasio.

The survey also found:

  • Top financial goals for the remainder of 2020 are: generally saving as much as possible (37 per cent), and avoiding taking on more debt (36 per cent)
  • Close to three-fourths of Canadians (74 per cent) say the uncertainty of the current environment makes it difficult to plan ahead, and over half (54 per cent) are generally worried about their financial future
  • The number of people who say they’ve taken on more debt is lower (22 per cent) than in December 2019 (28 per cent). Among those who have taken on more debt, 38 per cent say they did so to cover day-to-day expenses or due to loss of income (28 per cent) and job loss (18 per cent, +9 per cent from December 2019)
  • Regionally, the poll found differences in how Canadians are tightening their wallets. Residents in the Prairies say they are cutting discretionary spending the most, led by 76 per cent of those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 69 per cent of Albertans, compared to the national average of 63 per cent
  • At 58 per cent, taking on more debt to pay for day-to-day items was the highest in British Columbia, 20 per cent higher than the national average of 38 per cent

Disclaimer

From June 8th to June 9th 2020 an online survey of 1,517 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/en/about-cibc/media-centre.html.

SOURCE CIBC

www.cibc.com

WAWANESA INCREASES FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO COMMUNITIES IN CANADA & UNITED STATES

Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (Wawanesa) today announced its Caring Together initiative, which features $1.8 million in new financial support for communities in need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight to end systemic racism.

These funds are in addition to the $3.5 million Wawanesa previously committed in donations to hundreds of community organizations in Canada and the United States this year.

“As a mutual insurer, Wawanesa is guided by values that focus on being a positive force in our communities,” said Wawanesa President and CEO, Jeff Goy. “The health and economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing outrage against systemic racism, are powerful forces affecting our communities. Given these unprecedented times, companies like ours have a responsibility to step up and do more.”

Caring Together has three areas of focus where funds will be allocated.

COVID-19 support – providing funding to Indigenous and remote Northern communities, United Way centres, hospital foundations, and food banks in Canada and the United States.

Civil rights – providing funding to civil rights and social justice organizations in the United States and Canada focused on supporting Black communities.

Employee and broker partner donation matching – a dollar-for-dollar donation matching program open to Wawanesa employees and the company’s insurance broker partners.

“These funds will allow True North Aid to support many Indigenous Peoples and their families as we continue providing practical humanitarian assistance during this difficult time,” said Kenneth Smid, Executive Director of True North Aid. “To support Indigenous self-determination, we work directly with members of the communities to develop plans and make sure that together we are meeting their needs – work that has taken on even more urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We’ve seen many changes in our community since the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” said United Way Winnipeg President and CEO, Connie Walker. “More people are living with uncertainty. We know stress is high and more people are living in or on the edge of poverty. There has been a toll on our mental health, our relationships and our financial security. United Way Winnipeg is very grateful to Wawanesa in helping to address urgent needs for our most vulnerable in these challenging times, helping to ensure no one is left behind.”

The details of Wawanesa’s Caring Together commitments are:

  • $500,000 will go to United Way’s COVID-19 Response to increase its support for local community partners in Canada and U.S, providing people and families with food, shelter, and mental health support in disadvantaged and marginalized communities.
  • $400,000 will go to Indigenous and remote northern communities, supporting needs identified by the communities themselves. To help identify those needs and distribute funds, Wawanesa has teamed up with the Canadian Red Cross and True North Aid.
  • $400,000 will go to civil rights and social justice organizations supporting Black communities in the U.S. and Canada, specifically the National Urban League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Black Health Alliance and the Black Business and Professional Association.
  • $250,000 will go to hospitals in Canada and the U.S. to support frontline healthcare workers and COVID-19 research.
  • $250,000 will support a dollar-for-dollar donation matching program, open to all employees and our brokers.

 

About Wawanesa

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is the largest Canadian Property and Casualty Mutual insurer with $3.9 billion in annual revenue and assets of $10.5 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Western Canada. With more than 5,700 employees, Wawanesa proudly serves more than two million policyholders in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Learn more at wawanesa.com


How to boost your auto loan application

How to boost your auto loan application

Tips from

Cars are expensive—sometimes really expensive. And it’s rare to have cash ready to go in the bank when your old car dies or you need an upgrade. That’s was auto loans are for. But while they’re one of the easier kinds of credit to be approved for, qualification isn’t 100 percent guaranteed.

However, there are simple steps you can take to help level-up your application to be a better shoo-in for approval even if you’ve been rejected in the past. Here are a few things you can do to yourself the best chance of success.

Why applications are denied

It’s possible, although rare, for applicants to be denied an auto loan. When it does happen it’s most often for one of two reasons:

  • The applicant doesn’t have enough credit history to base a decision on
  • The applicant’s monthly debt obligations, including requested loan payment exceed the maximum allowable percentage of monthly income

If you’re worried that either of these may apply to you, there are several credit-boosting tips you can use to help you qualify more easily for an auto loan.

4 credit-boosting tips

1. Make sure you have good credit

By law, you can check the details held on your files with the major credit reference agencies Equifax and TransUnion. Use this ability to see exactly how your credit rating stands.

If your credit is good, you know you can probably apply successfully. But if it’s less than perfect, it’s not the end of the world.

2. Work on your credit before applying

If your credit rating is a little below its best, do what you can to clean it up before you apply. For example:

  • Check your file for any mistakes, such as debts listed which you’ve previously paid off and write to the agencies asking for any errors to be corrected, no matter how small.
  • Look for any old, small debts you can clear without too much trouble
  • Make sure any regular credit repayments you’ve been making are shown in your report so that your score will get the benefit

Working on your credit is worthwhile even if it’s already good, as even small improvements in your score could mean you’re offered a better rate on your loan.

3. Have a solid source of income

Your income level is key to qualification for any kind of credit. You may not be able to do much about the money you have coming in, but it’s essential to have a reliable main source of income. It’s also beneficial to gather solid documentation showing proof of all the income you receive in case they are requested. Tax documents and current paystubs are some examples

4. Consider a pre-approval

Lastly, if you’re worried about your chances of qualifying, testing the water with a pre-approval is a sensible step to take. It will let you see how much you could borrow and under what terms, and will let you look for your next car with full confidence you can finance it.

Talk to us today

Taking these steps before applying will give you the best chance of qualifying but if you’re ready to apply or have questions, talk to us today. We can arrange auto financing for people with a wide range of circumstances.

Source:
Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union
Can’t make money right now? Free up cash in your budget

Can’t make money right now? Free up cash in your budget

By Courtney Jespersen Of Nerdwallet

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

You’re not the only one with a tight budget. Millions of Americans are currently struggling with unemployment, lost hours and lowered wages.

There’s little comfort in knowing that others are feeling strapped. But you may be relieved to hear there are ways to make things easier even if you’re out of work or can’t make more money

We talked to financial experts for advice about getting more mileage out of the money you have available right now. Here are their tips for finding extra money in your monthly budget.

GO LINE BY LINE

Depending on where you live, you’re probably spending a lot of time at home these days. Devote at least some of the free time to analyzing your finances.

Go over every single transaction in your checking account, savings account, credit card bills and so forth, says Robinson Crawford, certified financial planner and founder of the adviser firm Montebello Avenue in Phoenix.

Crawford says you can use a budgeting system to make this step easier. Try an app, Excel file or some other tool.

Once you see all of the dollars going in and out, you’ll be able to identify areas for savings. And you’ll be ready to start making some (or all) of the changes outlined below.

PICK UP THE PHONE

As you look at your line items, focus on the largest bills first, suggests Cady North, CFP, founder of North Financial Advisors LLC, with offices in San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Lowering substantial, recurring payments has the potential to reap the biggest savings. For example, even if you already received an automatic rebate from your auto insurance company, it doesn’t hurt to call up and see if you can negotiate additional savings. That’s particularly applicable if you’re not driving right now.

Another option? If you have student loans, your federal student loan payment has likely already been suspended, but you’ll want to take the extra step to ensure you’ve stopped your automatic payments. That is, if you don’t want to continue making payments right now.

If you choose to contact companies and service providers you do business with, be honest about how COVID-19 has affected you. Crawford recommends telling them about your situation and why you’re asking for help, especially if you’ve been laid off. They’re likely to empathize.

“Part of the reasoning should be, `Listen I’m trying to do everything to keep all of my bills paid. I want your service. I want to keep you. I want to stay as a customer.”’

UNPLUG AND UNSUBSCRIBE

After the big expenses, seal smaller holes in your spending. Try looking around your house, recommends Shehara L. Wooten, CFP, founder of investment advisor Your Story Financial LLC.

Unplug electronics when they’re not in use. Stop buying disposable paper towels and paper plates _ switch to reusable towels and plates instead. Monitor the thermostat and lights as you spend increased amounts of time at home.

You can also pull the plug on unnecessary subscriptions. Crawford says now might be the right time to cancel those streaming services and online shopping memberships, especially ones you haven’t found use for even while you’ve been cooped up at home.

“If you’re not watching one of your streaming subscriptions during COVID, news flash: You’re never going to watch it.”

If you still like (and use) your subscriptions and aren’t willing to give them up completely, cut them out temporarily. Some companies allow you to go online and pause your account for a period of time.

“That’s a way to get $15, $20 here and there extra in your budget,” North says.

GET MONEY BACK

Finally, while you may not be able to find a new job right now, there could still be methods to expand your budget that you hadn’t considered.

One way is to sign up for cash-back shopping sites or apps to earn money back when you purchase groceries and other essentials, Wooten points out. With some apps, you scan your receipt after a transaction for post-purchase savings.

As you free up money, make sure you’re devoting those newfound funds to absolute necessities first, like food and shelter.

Every change you can make _ no matter how major or minor _ can make a difference.

_______________________________________

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

 

Known fraudsters targeting CERB for wrongful benefits

By Jordan Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Harsh penalties for defrauding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit are needed because organized crime and identity thieves are trying to scam the program, a House of Commons committee was told Thursday

A Canada Revenue Agency official said federal systems have already flagged a number of potential fraudulent applications for the $2,000-a-month CERB, including people involved in criminal activity that have now targeted the pandemic-aid program.

Ted Gallivan, the agency’s assistant commissioner in charge of compliance, said about five people already under a joint police-CRA investigation for other reasons are now being looked at for CERB fraud as well.

The agency is receiving leads on possible fraud and has “a number” of joint operations with local police, but Gallivan told the finance committee that it wants the power to go after fraudsters.

Earlier this week, the Liberals were unable to get unanimous agreement from the opposition parties to swiftly pass a bill that included fines and possible jail time for CERB fraud. NDP Leader Jagmeet has argued that the penalties will hit Canadians who mistakenly applied for the benefit, despite government assurances that they’re intended to deal only with those who knowingly and deliberately defraud the program.

Gallivan said the measures being sought would target people who have filed hundreds of fraudulent claims, such as those who have reportedly gone into retirement homes to have seniors sign up for the benefit.

“We do think it’s important to have a criminal sanction at the end of that,” Gallivan said during an Thursday evening committee video conference.

“Criminal sanctions being sought are really to deter people operating at scale because merely asking them to pay the money back won’t have the deterrent effect we need.”

Gallivan said the system that doles out the CERB was set up to flag possible fraud, such as someone changing their direct deposit information a day before applying for the benefit, or someone filing thousands of claims on behalf of clients.

Figures released last week by the agency showed that 190,000 benefit payments had been repaid online as of June 3.

NDP finance critic Peter Julian said new powers aren’t needed because criminal penalties already exist for fraud or people misusing social insurance numbers. He noted that criminal investigations are already under way without the additional powers.

Demand for the CERB has surpassed federal expectations, pushing its budget to $60 billion from $35 billion.

The most recent figures show that $43.51 billion in benefits have been paid out as of June 4 to 8.41 million unique applicants. But those numbers include $20.56 billion from the employment insurance account to 3.96 million EI-eligible workers who exhausted their benefits and couldn’t find work due to the pandemic.

In a recent interview, Conservative employment critic Dan Albas said the spending raises questions about whether EI premiums will have to go up in the future.

“There’s a lot of different things in play here,” Albas said. “There’s the overall spending trajectory of the government, there’s the current state of finances, particularly with the EI fund and because there’s been no budget, we just don’t know its status.”

Finance Minister Bill Morneau was pressed anew during his appearance Thursday at the finance committee about when the government would provide a budget or fiscal update. But he again said that won’t be possible until there is greater economic certainty.

The total spending package on pandemic-related aid now tops $153.6 billion, not including tens of billions more in loan programs, as detailed by the Finance Department in its latest report to MPs.

A commercial rent relief program has doled out $39 million in loans to landlords as of June 8, representing help to more than 5,000 tenants. Delivered jointly with provinces, the federal government provides almost $3 billion to the program.

Morneau said application numbers have gone up in recent days after provinces announced eviction bans.

“That is starting to change the activity between tenants and landlords,” Morneau said, adding a moment later: “There are very encouraging signs that this program can have a big impact on commercial tenants.”

 

CMHC tightens lending standards to protect housing market during COVID 19

By Tara Deschamps

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Canadians looking to borrow money for a home purchase a home are in for some extra challenges after the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced changes to its lending standards on Thursday.

The country’s national housing agency is increasing the qualifying credit score for mortgage insurance to 680 from 600 and limiting gross and total debt servicing ratios to their standards of 35 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.

“COVID-19 has exposed long-standing vulnerabilities in our financial markets, and we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians,” CMHC head Evan Siddall said in a statement.

“These actions will protect homebuyers, reduce government and taxpayer risk and support the stability of housing markets while curtailing excessive demand and unsustainable house price growth.”

Under the changes effective July 1, CMHC will also no longer treat non-traditional sources of down payment funding, such as a personal unsecured line of credit, as equity for insurance purposes.

It will also suspend refinancing for most multi-unit mortgage insurance.

The move comes just weeks after Siddall appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance in Ottawa to warn of trouble ahead for the housing market.

‘Our support for homeownership cannot be unlimited,” he said.

“Homeownership is like blood pressure: you can have too much of it. Housing demand is far easier to stimulate than supply and the result, as we’ve seen, is Economics 101: ever-increasing prices.”

The majority of mortgages insured by the CMHC will not be affected by the more stringent qualifications.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the average debt servicing ratios were well below the 35 per cent and 42 per cent thresholds, and depending on the metric, between 63% and 82% of all qualifying mortgages were below the limit.

Spokesperson Leonard Catling said the changes “were not made because of our current book of mortgage insurance business, rather to maintain its integrity.

“High household indebtedness continues to be a concern and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the long-standing vulnerabilities in our financial markets.”

The CMHC forecasts a decline of between nine per cent and 18 per cent in average house prices over the next year because of higher mortgage debt and increased unemployment.

Siddall warned the finance committee a growing debt deferral cliff could be headed Canada’s way in the fall, when some jobless Canadians will need to start paying their mortgages again after deferrals run out, and as much as one-fifth of all mortgages could be in arrears if the economy has not recovered sufficiently, he warned.

“We need to avoid exposing young people and through CMHC, Canadian taxpayers to the amplified losses that result from falling house prices,” he said.

“Unless we act, a first time homebuyer purchasing a $300,000 home with a 5 per cent down payment stands to lose over $45,000 on their $15,000 investment if prices fall by 10 per cent,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.

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