Over the past several years, investigators have been working on an ongoing investigation relating to criminal money laundering in Canada. Looking at B.C. alone, billions of dollars have been laundered through B.C. casinos by criminal organizations and parked in high-end B.C. real estate over the past decade or more.
With government citing limited resources and a lack of funds available to conduct a proper investigation, criminals have been able to manipulate and take advantage of the Canadian and B.C. legal system for years and it is now finally coming to light the impact it has had on our economy, most notably our real estate market.
One of the measures the government implemented several years ago to help crack down on this was sourcing the funds that people were using for the down payment on their home purchases. Lenders are required by the federal and provincial government to collect a minimum of 30 days of transaction history for every bank account where the money comes from to help complete a purchase on real estate. Most lenders are still requiring 90 days and they are also required, by the government, to source any large deposits above $1,000 that are unrelated to employment income.
If you have e-transfers and transfers between your own accounts within the 90 day period, the lender will require a 90-day history of the account in which funds were deposited. That means, if you have a savings account reserved just for a down payment, but you put $1,000 a month in there from your chequing account, brought in $5,000 from a TFSA, and put in $3,000 in cash all before you wrote an offer on a home, a lender is going to want to see 90-day history of your savings, your chequing, and your TFSA account as well as an explanation on where the $3,000 cash came from.
Most people find this frustrating and rightfully so – you are handing over personal information over a long period of time. However, due to the extreme affect money laundering has had on our economy, these rules are likely not going anywhere. When preparing your down payment, be prepared that the lender will be required to collect a 90-day history of every account you have where money is coming from to help cover your down payment. This is not because the lender feels like it. This is because each loan is reviewed by government regulators and these regulators need to see that the lender verified the money for the down payment was legitimate.
Also, with your T4’s and Notice of Assessments usually going into lenders, if you are just starting a new job and were making $20,000 a year while in school and now have $150,000 in savings for your down payment a year out of school, the lender is allowed to ask for a full year history because your income does not justify the savings you have.
Be prepared! Lenders are required to source down payment funds and with more and more news coming out every month on money laundering, the rules may only get more rigid. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.