CIBC head calls federal governments new housing measures prudent

CIBC head calls federal government’s new housing measures prudent by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 12, 2016 11:00 am MDT Last Updated Oct 13, 2016 at 7:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CIBC President and CEO Victor Dodig listens during the company’s annual and special meeting of shareholders in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday April 5, 2016. Dodig is supportive of a new package of federal measures aimed at easing risks in the country’s real estate system.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck OTTAWA – The chief executive at one of Canada’s biggest banks is supportive of a new package of federal measures aimed at easing risks in the country’s real estate system.CIBC’s Victor Dodig said Wednesday that government changes announced last week, which include tightening mortgage lending rules, are “prudent” and will help shore up the housing system.“It’s always a balancing act making sure that the housing market and the construction sector stay robust and employment stays robust, making sure that the banks continue to lend prudently and that consumers are borrowing prudently,” Dodig told The Canadian Press in an interview after his appearance at the Public Policy Forum on economic growth in Ottawa.“So, I think it’s a prudent measure to continue to make sure there’s stability in the system.”Last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes designed to slow the injection of foreign cash into Canadian housing markets and to stiffen eligibility rules on prospective borrowers, including stress tests on mortgages.The government also proposed consultations on a policy that could see banks shoulder more of the risk for mortgage defaults.Dodig said he expects the consultations around so-called “lender risk sharing” to be constructive.“It’s been a hallmark for us to always work together,” said the CEO of CIBC (TSX:CM).“I think the goal of the government is to make sure that the taxpayer is not on the hook to support financial institutions in a perceived or real way.”Morneau’s announcement last week came amid concerns that real estate costs in the hot Toronto and Vancouver markets are out of reach for many Canadians. Some fear foreign investment in these areas has helped drive up prices.Later Wednesday, Morneau was asked during his appearance at the same Ottawa conference about concerns over potential impacts the housing changes could have on Canadians, including first-time home buyers.He said impacts will always accompany decisions that are meant to deal with long-term risks.“We think those impacts will be relatively short-term in nature, we think they’ll be relatively modest and will contribute to a longer, positive growth pattern for the country,” he said.The changes, he added, will potentially delay purchases for some buyers until they save up more for a bigger down payment or they might force some people to buy a home that’s a slightly better fit for their income.Morneau said the government’s goal is to ensure long-term stability for the market in a low-rate environment, which has seen the overall indebtedness of Canadians become a “significant challenge.”On the economy, Dodig spoke about his efforts to promote the creation of a growth fund for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, similar to one launched in the United Kingdom.He said the fund would seek to fill financing gaps by offering long-term capital to companies in their early stages — but those already past the initial venture capital funding stage.The fund would also include an expert advisory group to help firms access talent, important networks and mentorship advice from people who have expertise in commercializing and scaling businesses.Dodig said he’s received an increasing level of support for the idea from Morneau, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and stakeholders in the private sector.He said he hoped to see it launched sometime next year.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more

UN officials urge collective action to save Central African Republic from current

“The crisis that continues to unfold in the Central African Republic poses a test for the entire international community,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the Security Council, as he outlined a set of measures to address the greatest risks facing the country. “The situation in the country has been on the agenda of the Security Council for many years now. But today’s emergency is of another, more disturbing magnitude. It is a calamity with a strong claim on the conscience of humankind,” said the United Nations chief. He noted that over the past year, CAR has witnessed, in quick succession, the violent overthrow of the Government, the collapse of State institutions and a descent into lawlessness and sectarian brutality. The crisis has already claimed thousands of lives, uprooted almost one million people and left more than 2.5 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.The conflict erupted when mainly Muslim Séléka rebels launched attacks in December 2012 and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms. With whole populations being moved, Mr. Ban said “a creeping de facto partition of the country” is setting in, with Muslims in one part and Christians in another. “This separation is laying the seeds of conflict and instability for years, maybe generations, to come.”The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, who wrapped up a visit to CAR today, said she was “shocked” by burned homes and people so scared by violence that they sleep in the bush at night. She noted that tensions between communities are high, and stressed the need for more troops on the ground to provide security and protection across the country.Echoing the call for security and protection was Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), who also witnessed the desperate conditions facing the people of CAR as he travelled with Ms. Amos. Prior to the current crisis, the country was already struggling with its AIDS response. Since the violence began, two-thirds of people living with HIV on treatment have fled their homes and are no longer able to access the medicines and care they need. The African Union and France have deployed troops to CAR to help stem the violence, and Mr. Ban voiced his gratitude to them for saving many lives and providing protection where they can. “However, given the scale and geographic breadth of the violence, the security requirements far exceed the capabilities of the number of international troops now deployed,” he stated. “In places where there are no international forces, the choice for far too many civilians is to flee or be killed.“The human family must not shy away from what is happening today in the Central African Republic, or from our responsibilities – both yours and mine – under the United Nations Charter,” he stressed. “Events in the CAR have implications across the region, and summon us to defend universal values as well. This complex security, humanitarian, human rights and political crisis demands a comprehensive and integrated response.”The Secretary-General is expected to report soon to the Security Council on the outlines of a future UN peacekeeping operation with a robust mandate to protect civilians and promote stability in CAR. However, he noted, the deployment of a peacekeeping operation, if authorized, will take months. “The people of the Central African Republic do not have months to wait. The international community must act decisively now to prevent any further worsening of the situation and to respond to the dire needs of the country’s people.”Therefore, he proposed a six-point initiative to address the greatest risks being faced by the people of CAR, beginning with a call for the rapid reinforcement of the AU and French troops now on the ground with additional deployments of at least 3,000 more troops and police.He also proposed that all international forces in CAR be brought under a single coordinated command, and that the mission of these forces be focused on the most urgent priorities. These include containing the violence, protecting civilians, preventing further displacements, and creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In addition, the African troops that join this force should be provided with logistic and financial support.Further, Mr. Ban called for rapid, tangible support to the Government of CAR, led by Acting Head of State Catherine Samba-Panza, to help it establish a minimum capacity to function. “This support should include the financial assistance necessary to get police back on the streets, judges back in the courtrooms, and prison guards back on the job,” he stated. In addition, he called for the acceleration of a political and reconciliation process to prevent a “further fraying of the communal bonds,” as well as for urgent funding for humanitarian aid, which is currently insufficient to address the crisis.“We know what is happening in the Central African Republic. We know why it is different from previous outbreaks of violence. We know why it matters to all of us and what we must do,” said Mr. Ban.“Knowledge is not all we have. Through collective action, as envisaged by the United Nations Charter, we have the power to stop the killing and save the Central African Republic from its current nightmare.” read more