Canada's Home Capital agrees settlement with regulator

TORONTO (Reuters) - Home Capital Group Inc said on Wednesday it had agreed on a settlement with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and accepted responsibility for misleading investors about problems with its mortgage underwriting procedures.

FILE PHOTO - The entry to the Home Capital Group's headquarters is seen at an office tower in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Canada’s biggest non-bank lender said that it would make a payment of C$10 million ($7.6 million) and reimburse the commission’s costs of C$500,000. Former directors will also pay fines totaling C$2 million taking the total payment to the OSC to C$12 million excluding costs.

In a linked settlement, Home Capital said that it would pay C$29.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit. That includes C$11 million from the fines imposed by the OSC, which the commission said should be paid to Home Capital investors who were part of the class action.

Home Capital said that it expected to fund the costs of the settlements substantially through its liability insurance.

“Home Capital will accept full responsibility for failing to meet its disclosure obligations to the marketplace and appreciates the importance of the serious concerns raised by the Commission with respect to continuous and timely disclosure,” the company’s Chair Brenda Eprile said in a statement.

Depositors have withdrawn 95 percent of funds from Home Capital’s high interest savings accounts since March 27, when the company terminated the employment of former Chief Executive Martin Reid.

The withdrawals accelerated after April 19, when the OSC, Canada’s biggest securities regulator, accused Home Capital of making misleading statements to investors about its mortgage underwriting business.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Home Capital was in talks with a syndicate of banks, including some of Canada’s biggest lenders, to secure a loan of about C$2 billion ($1.5 billion) to replace a costly emergency credit line it agreed in April.

“These settlements will enable us to move forward with regaining the confidence of our depositors and shareholders and creating value for all our stakeholders,” Eprile said.

Shares in Home Capital closed on Wednesday at C$12.13, up 7.4 percent.

The OSC said that Gerald Soloway, Home Capital’s founder and former chief executive, would be prohibited from acting as a company director for four years and would pay a fine of C$1 million.

Home Capital’s former chief executive Reid, and Robert Morton, the company’s former finance director, will be banned from serving as company directors for 2 years and will each pay a fine of C$500,000.

Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Clive McKeef