How ironic. The presidents of Canada's Big Six banks are urging the Finance Minister to tighten mortgage-
lending rules (Ottawa Says Housing Bubble Not A Concern - Feb. 8).
Until well into the global credit crunch, this industry complained incessantly about excessive regulation. Behind every bad debt is a lender that was willing to hand out the money; the banking community must bear its share of responsibility for the financial crisis that ensued.
While I tend to agree with the current viewpoint of these CEOs, they should not be relying on government regulation to avoid the residential mortgage fiasco in the U.S. They are each free to self-impose more stringent mortgage criteria and conditions as they see fit to manage the identified risk.
If they are sincere in their concern, this would be an excellent time to demonstrate real leadership and not wait for government to impose blanket restrictions on all lenders.
Director, Executive Seminars on Corporate & Investment Real Estate, Queen's University