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Panic Bank Run Leaves Canada’s Largest Alternative Mortgage Lender On Edge Of Collapse

from ZeroHedge:

After two years of recurring warnings (both on this website and elsewhere) that Canada’s largest alternative (i.e., non-bank) mortgage lender is fundamentally insolvent, kept alive only courtesy of the Canadian housing bubble which until last week had managed to lift all boats, Home Capital Group suffered a spectacular spectacular implosion last week when its stock price crashed by the most on record after HCG revealed that it had taken out an emergency $2 billion line of credit from an unnamed counterparty with an effective rate as high as 22.5%, indicative of a business model on the verge of collapse .

Or, as we put it, Canada just experienced its very own “New Century” moment.

One day later, it emerged that the lender behind HCG’s (pre-petition) rescue loan was none other than the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). As Bloomberg reported, the Toronto-based pension plan – which represented more than 321,000 healthcare workers in Ontario – gave the struggling Canadian mortgage lender the loan to shore up liquidity as it faces a run on deposits amid a probe by the provincial securities regulator. Home Capital had also retained RBC Capital Markets and BMO Capital Markets to advise on “strategic options” after it secured the loan.

Why did HOOPP put itself, or rather its constituents in the precarious position of funding what is a very rapidly melting ice cube? The answer to that emerged when we learned that HOOPP President and CEO Jim Keohane also sits on Home Capital’s board and is also a shareholder. But how did regulators allow such a glaring conflict of interest? According to the Canadian press, Keohane had been a director of Home Capital until Thursday, but said he stepped away from the boardroom on Tuesday to remove the conflict of interest when it became clear HOOPP might step in as a lender.

Keohane further clarified on Friday that he doesn’t view the Home Capital investment as risky because the pension plan will be provided with $2 worth of mortgages as collateral for every $1 it lends to Home Capital.

“We take comfort from the underlying asset portfolio, so we are not looking at Home Capital as a credit,” said Mr. Keohane in an interview with Business News Network television. He added that a correction in the housing market is not of great concern, since the values of homes would need to plummet by more than 65 per cent for the fund to make no return beyond the value of its principal commitment.

Furthermore, it appears that Canada’s pensioners are priming all other company lenders: Keohane also said that the funding syndicate would rank above Home Capital’s other lenders.

“We have security interest in the collateral we’ve received, so we have the right to sell that collateral if we don’t get paid. And then the balance that’s left over would go to recovery for other creditors.”

The implication is that as long as HCG’s mortgages dont suffer greater than 50% losses, HOOPP’s pensioners should be money good. Of course, if this is indeed Canada’s “subprime moment”, any outcome is possible. As for other lenders, or the prepetition (because there will be a petition here, the only question is when and in what form) equity, that’s some $4 billion in assets that was just stripped from existing collateral.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

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