Happy 150th, Canada!
July 1 is just around the corner, and we’d like to wish everyone (and our country!) a very Happy Canada Day, on this our 150th birthday.
Oaken, of course, is still a bit of a sapling—we’ll only be turning 4 years old in November. But our parent company, Home Trust, has been around for quite a bit longer. Established in 1987, Home Trust now has 30 years under its belt. And even though it’s not as old as Canada, we’re proud to be part of the Canadian success story.
Helping to realize the Canadian dream
Since its inception, Home Trust has been making the dream of home ownership a reality for so many people, by providing mortgages to new Canadians, small business owners, self-employed individuals and others who would not have qualified for a mortgage anywhere else. So it’s only fitting that on this 150th celebration, we look back on a rich history and forward to a bright future.
That future rests on our specialized role within Canada’s financial services industry, which remains one of the most robust in the world, especially as it relates to the housing market. What you may not realize is that every time a deposit is made through Oaken, it provides the fuel that’s required to fund these types of mortgages. So when you save your money with Oaken, you’re not only getting the highest rates available, together with the security of being eligible for CDIC coverage. You’re also helping to put worthy families into their own homes, while investing in a stronger future for our nation.
So we’d like to thank all our Oaken customers for the support you’ve given to us over the years. And as we all celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we promise to repay your loyalty by helping you—and this great country—continue to plant for your future.
Views on the news
Home Trust recently added a new section to its website that we think will be of interest to many of our Oaken customers. Titled “In the News”, it’s a place for issues of importance to the financial services industry, and particularly the sector served by Home Trust. The first two posts were about Canada’s housing market, and the role that Home Trust plays in it.
The first article looks at how Canada’s housing market is different from that of the United States. As the article explains, it may be fair to use the term “frothy” in reference to some of Canada’s housing markets, but never the term “subprime”. That’s because “subprime” refers to a whole class of mortgages which have never seen the light of day in Canada, thanks to our regulatory regime. From minimum down payments to mandatory insurance for high-value mortgages, the Canadian approach has discouraged the kind of high-risk borrowing that has been all too common in the United States. And with underwriting practices that are also very conservative, we have achieved a default rate on mortgages that’s among the lowest in the world.
The second article is about the role of alternative lenders like Home Trust in the Canadian mortgage market. With almost 16% of the country’s working population self-employed, and growing numbers of immigrants coming to Canada every year, there’s a clear need for lenders who are ready to serve customers who may not match traditional lending criteria. That’s exactly what the big banks don’t do, and what Home Trust has always done extremely well. By taking time to understand applicants’ stories, and looking more closely at their credit profiles, Home Trust helps them realize their dream of home ownership. And it does so without any undue risk, During its 30-year history, Home Trust has kept its default rate within the same range as that of Canada’s big banks.
Both of these posts can be found here, and we encourage our Oaken customers to check back from time to time for updates on similar matters.
Summer health tips
With summer having officially started, it’s time for hot weather (hopefully!) and enjoying the great outdoors. To keep your summer carefree and enjoyable as possible, however, it’s important to follow some basic safety tips—especially for the elderly and the very young.
We’re all susceptible to dehydration in hot weather, and one of the greatest dangers we face is not being aware that we are in fact thirsty. This is particularly the case at high altitudes, where humidity drops and perspiration evaporates more quickly than at lower altitudes. If you’re going up high, remember to pack extra water and drink regularly.
Some medical conditions and medications can hamper your body’s ability to adjust to higher temperatures, so watch out for those very hot days if this applies to you. Remember, though, that even if you’re in top condition, you are still susceptible to heat stroke. Enjoy the heat, but take regular time outs in the shade. Or even, for example, the comfort of an air-conditioned movie theatre.
Get sun… but not too much
There’s no doubt that sunshine is good for us. It’s the best source of vitamin D you can get, and plays a major role in warding off illness and strengthening our bones. But unfortunately it’s also a potential cause of skin cancer. You need to strike a balance on this one. Get regular small doses of sunshine throughout the day, but avoid excessive exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when ultraviolet rays are at their strongest.
Lyme disease is a debilitating illness carried by ticks, and is most common during the summer. It can wreak havoc on people’s lives, and unfortunately it’s often misdiagnosed. Of most concern to health officials is that previously low-risk areas in Canada are now seeing greater infection levels. There are a number of steps you can take to avoid it, though, the most important of which are to stay on trails when hiking, wear bug repellant, and tuck your pants into your boots near tick-infested areas. Click here for complete information on preventing Lyme disease.
When you feel something’s a bit phishy
There seems to be no end to human ingenuity when it comes to criminal activity on the internet. Fake lottery wins, credit card scams, free ocean cruises—the list goes on and on. There are too many scams for us to review here, but as a recent Oaken Blog post points out, the most common pathway used by scammers is email.
Your email address is a favoured target of criminals because it’s so easily accessible. No matter how carefully you limit its use, it is bound to leak out into the wider world over time. And once scammers add it to the huge database of addresses they target in mass mailings, your only defense is vigilance.
Our post reviewed the five key steps you need to follow to fend off scams:
- Verify the sender – Before you click on a link or reply to an email, make absolutely sure that it has come from a legitimate source.
- Never click on a link to access your bank account – If you need to log into your account, do so by entering the website address yourself, and look for “https://” and the closed-lock icon in the address bar.
- Keep your antivirus protection and your software up to date – New malware is constantly being developed, and the best protection against it is the latest version of your software, browser and antivirus program.
- Beware of popups – Those new windows that jump up on your screen are often fakes that are trying to find out your private information.
- Read carefully – If an email from your financial institution has a mistake or uses dramatic language (“Act now or your account will be frozen!”), it’s almost certainly a scam.
For more on how to avoid email scams, see the full blog post here. (And yes, you can trust this link!)
This month’s summer reading is all about home sweet home…
- Videos, articles and info galore on the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
- The CBC on mortgage delinquency rates remaining low, despite the hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver.
- Health Canada’s guide to keeping it safe in the sun.