Scotiabank CEO sees Canadian housing slowdown, not crash

Tue Apr 9, 2013 2:37pm EDT
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* CEO says delinquencies up, but soft landing on the way

* Data on Tuesday showed housing starts higher in March

* Heir apparent Porter says retail/wholesale mix appropriate

By Cameron French

TORONTO, April 9 (Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia Chief Executive Rick Waugh said on Tuesday that mortgage delinquencies have risen at Canada's third-biggest bank, but that he does not foresee a U.S.-style housing crash.

"We still anticipate what I would call in terms of housing, a soft landing, and all the metrics which we watch daily confirm that," Waugh told the bank's annual general meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

His comments, part of an answer to a shareholder question about risks for the bank from the domestic housing market, came as data showed Canadian housing starts edged higher in March, offering some reassurance that the housing market is cooling rather than crashing.

Waugh said the rate of late payments at the bank has picked up, but said it anticipates no significant losses.

"Our delinquency rates with our customers are showing slightly elevated, but not significant, rises, and are well under control," he said.   Continued...