Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

You have a mortgage. You lose your job. With no savings or other resources to fall back on, you start missing payments.

What would you do then, besides panic?

If you’re with most lenders, you’ll likely lose your home in as little as a few months, depending on the lender and what province you live in. If you’re with alternative mortgage lender Haventree Bank, you get more breathing room.

Story continues below advertisement

Haventree has launched a first-of-its-kind program in Canada called NextJob. Essentially, it is designed to help people who have lost their job find new work. That way, homeowners can start earning money again, keep their mortgage and not lose their home. The program, which offers online job-search assistance and employment coaching, also defers their mortgage payments for four to six months.

Why they do it

Haventree Bank specializes in providing mortgages to Canadians with weaker credit and/or harder-to-prove income, the kind of borrowers who don’t qualify for the best rates or a mortgage with one of the big banks.

Formerly Equity Financial Trust, Toronto-based Haventree has $1.9-billion in assets, making it a small to mid-sized lender. Wilfred Pande, vice-president of mortgage servicing at Haventree, says the NextJob program creates positive word of mouth, good reviews and referral business.

Moreover, customers helped by a business tend to stick around. “The average tenure of that customer increases when they go through NextJob,” Mr. Pande says. That generates higher mortgage-renewal revenue.

It’s also a good way for Haventree to keep expenses down. “It helps us [economically] by having the customer stay in their homes.” That’s because of the many administrative costs of taking someone’s home, some of which are not recoverable.

And lastly, there can be other financial benefits for a lender. A mortgage forbearance agreement, in which a lender agrees not to foreclose if the borrower meets the lender’s terms, could mean that the mortgage doesn’t show up in the lender’s bad loan statistics. Fewer non-performing loans on paper can sometimes lower a lender’s capital costs.

Why is this happening now?

Given all the economic and goodwill benefits, you’d think that more lenders would be doing this. And in fact, some lenders do let borrowers defer up to four payments, due to hardship, if the borrower pro-actively approaches the lender and is honest about their situation. But it’s virtually never an official publicized policy that you can rely on, as with Haventree.

Story continues below advertisement

In Canada, lenders generally prefer quick cures, and liquidating a conventional borrower’s property gets the lender most of its money back. So, management teams are less motivated to come up with out-of-the-box ideas like this one.

Albeit, mortgage default insurers (Genworth Canada, CMHC and Canada Guaranty) have had borrower “workout programs” for a while. That’s where they work with borrowers to resolve delinquencies by restructuring their financing or giving them more time to pay. And “they’ve been very effective,” says Mr. Pande, who helped get Genworth’s program off the ground before he joined Haventree.

What’s the catch?

Flexibility isn’t free. Customers must pay NextJob about $2,000 for its employment assistance. Haventree adds that fee to the mortgage so there’s no out-of-pocket expense.

Some will balk at a bank charging hard-up borrowers a couple of grand – until they consider the alternative. “This upfront cost pales in comparison to what you’d pay to lose your house,” says Vince Gaetano, principal broker at

Mr. Pande adds: “The average legal costs of a power of sale in Ontario range from $6,000 to almost $10,000.” There’s also the cost of taking possession and maintaining the home during the sale period, another $3,000-plus that a customer might be on the hook for. And then there’s the damage to the homeowner’s credit score, realtor fees and potential equity losses from the forced sale.

If you meet their job program terms, Haventree won’t report you as delinquent to the credit bureaus. That’s a big deal because missed or late mortgage payments will seriously hurt your credit report, which could affect the interest rate you’re offered from lenders in the future.

Story continues below advertisement

If the borrower follows the Haventree program but still can’t find a job in four to six months, the lender will then liquidate the property, Mr. Pande says.

A program whose time has come

Automation alone could eventually displace up to 42 per cent of traditional workers, estimates the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Other things equal, “If I were a borrower, I would want a lender that provides this option," Mr. Gaetano says. “It speaks to the reality of life. People lose their jobs. This acts as a safety net.”

Indeed, most lenders would do well to consider such a policy as it can afford a positive return on investment – up to 300 per cent, according to NextJob’s case studies with U.S. lender adopters such as Fifth Third Bank.

From a borrower’s standpoint, if you’re getting a non-prime mortgage and your employment isn’t as stable as it could be, this is a program to consider.

And if you’re deciding between multiple lenders with like terms, and only one lender has this kind of offering, it makes a good tie-breaker. Credit-wise and financially, you always come out ahead by avoiding foreclosure. At the very least, the deferred payments buy people time to sort out their affairs.

Mr. Pande says he believes more will follow in Haventree’s footsteps, and Mr. Gaetano agrees: "It’s competing beyond just rates and products,” he says.

Story continues below advertisement

With any luck, more lenders will add such programs, ideally before the next recession.

Robert McLister is a mortgage planner at intelliMortgage, founder of and mortgage editor at You can follow him on Twitter at @RateSpy.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies