First National Mortgage Rates
Notes on First National
First National is Canada's largest non-bank lender, with more than $100 billion in Mortgages Under Administration. The company is publicly traded under ticker FN on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
First National has been originating both residential and commercial mortgages since 1988, and now services more than 200,000 single-family and multi-unit residential mortgage clients.
The company is a monoline lender, meaning it sells only one significant type of financial product: mortgages. It distributes exclusively through mortgage brokers in order to provide its residential mortgages to consumers. First National lends in all provinces.
First National Mortgage Rates
First National may not be a bank, but it's a massive lender. It originates in excess of $10 billion in single-family residential mortgages every year.
The company offers a variety of mortgage rates for single-family residential mortgages, commercial mortgages and multi-family mortgages. Most of its residential mortgages are funded by major banks, like TD.
For its single-family residential mortgages, First National offers both conventional and insured mortgage rates. Its rates are generally average in the industry but occasionally it can run specials that are second to none.
The company depends on securitization, which generally requires a mortgage to be insured. Therefore, First National tends to be much more competitive on insured rates than uninsured rates.
As with most lenders, First National adds a surcharge for borrowers who request amortizations over 25 years. In First National's case, that rate premium is 10 basis points (bps), or one-tenth of one percentage point.
First National Posted Rates
Unlike the Big 6 banks, First National's posted rates are not excessively inflated. Its posted rates are fairly close to its actual discount rates, if not the same.
That means the company has much fairer interest-rate differential penalties when customers break its fixed-rate mortgages early.
Alternative Mortgage Rates
For customers who can't qualify with a bank, First National also offers non-prime (a.k.a. "Alternative") lending with its Excalibur product. The company targets borrowers who have weaker credit or harder-to-prove income.
As of this writing, the company will entertain borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 (680+ is considered good credit). It will also consider "stated income" for those who are self-employed and have 35% equity.
In addition to rates that are 50-100 basis points higher than its normal discounted rates, Excalibur borrowers pay lender fees upwards of 1% of the principal amount (which can be rolled into the mortgage).
Switching to First National
The company, like most lenders, pays the bulk of fees when a borrower transfers (switches) from another lender into a new 3-year or longer term. The fee coverage includes appraisal and legal/registration fees. Borrowers generally only have to pay their old lender's discharge fees.
(Note: The fee reimbursement does not apply if your existing mortgage has a collateral charge.)
First National Mortgage Features
Most of the company's mortgages are considered full-featured. Some general things to be aware of:
- All of the company's mortgages are standard charges (which makes switching less costly than collateral charges)
- First National's mortgage penalties are among the lowest (fairest) in Canada, and often much lower than the major banks' IRD penalties
- Its prepayment privileges are typically 15% annually (in one or more lump sums)
- Borrowers in fixed-rate mortgages can optionally increase their ongoing payments up to 15% annually
- First National's standard rate hold is 120 days (Its Option 90 low-frills mortgage allows 90 days)
- Pre-approvals are available but usually not at the company's lowest mortgage rates
- First National also offers the ability to double-up payments
- Mortgages are portable nationwide, unlike many smaller lenders that only allow porting regionally
- Porting must be done within 30 days of selling your property to avoid a penalty (that's more restrictive than the big banks, which allow up to 90-120 days)
- First National allows borrowers to add second mortgages or "blend and increase" if they need to add additional funds before maturity
- Most First National mortgages come with a standard one-year home warranty (conditions apply)
- First National has no maximum property value
- Its maximum mortgage amount is based on a sliding scale, depending on the property value
- The company sells its own creditor life insurance product, but as always, we advise borrowers to choose a provider that makes their policies portable to other lenders (like Mortgage Protection Plan) or better yet, seek the advice of an independent insurance agent who might be able to secure you lower premiums for similar coverage amounts
- The minimum amortization is 10 years and the maximum is 30 years
- The company does not offer readvanceable mortgages at this time
First National Variable-Rate Mortgages
Here's what you need to know about the company's floating-rate mortgages:
- The company's floating-rate mortgages actually have adjustable rates, meaning the payment moves with prime rate (as opposed to a typical "variable rate mortgage"). When prime rises, you pay more interest and less principal, and vice versa.
- Variable-rate mortgages can be locked into a fixed term as long as it is longer than your remaining term
- First National's prime rate generally follows that of the major banks.
How to Get a First National Mortgage
As of Q3 2018, First National was the third-ranked lender in the mortgage broker channel. As such, the overwhelming majority of brokers across the country have access to First National's mortgage rates.
First National has been heavily invested in the mortgage broker channel for more than 25 years. It has promised to "continue to endorse mortgage broker credibility and professionalism as the smart choice for simpler mortgages."
A key benefit for brokers is access to First National's proprietary Merlin technology, which provides some of the fastest approvals in the broker industry, as well as real-time status updates on every stage of a deal.
Virtually all brokers on RateSpy.com deal with First National.
First National Online Mortgage Management
First National offers one of the most convenient mortgage management portals of any lender in Canada. It provides you with a hassle-free and convenient way to check the status and manage your mortgage.
With First National's My Mortgage platform, you can check your mortgage details, make extra payments (in accordance with your mortgage agreement), access annual mortgage statements, update account information, change payment dates, get a current amortization schedule and more.
Renewing a First National Mortgage
If you are an existing First National mortgage customer, First National will work with you to ensure a simple and straightforward mortgage renewal process.
As your renewal date approaches, a First National mortgage specialist will work with you to choose an appropriate renewal term and payment options. They will generally quote a rate that's about average to somewhat better than average.
As always, however, compare any renewal quote to what you see here on the Spy. If you find something lower for a comparable product, let the lender know. First National makes most of its money from servicing revenue, and renewal mortgages are very profitable for the company because it doesn't have to pay brokers again. Therefore, its customer retention specialists can be very competitive if you negotiate and hold their feet to the fire.
For any questions related to renewing your First National mortgage, you can call 1-888-670-2111 or email email@example.com.
Refinancing a First National Mortgage
Unexpected life events or emergency expenses can require that you be able to access the equity in your home.
Other reasons to refinance your First National mortgage can include consolidating your debt, financing home renovations, switching into a lower rate, making funds available for investment purposes or supporting a child's post-secondary education.
First National offers a mortgage payment calculator where you can estimate how much money you could potentially access and how it would affect your mortgage payments.
For any questions related to refinancing your First National mortgage, you can call 1-888-670-2111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll also want to compare options from other lenders on RateSpy to ensure you're getting the lowest overall borrowing cost.
First National Mortgage Calculators
First National offers several different mortgage calculators to help you during your mortgage shopping research.
Among other things, its calculators let you
- Determine how much you can spend on your home
- Align your monthly payments with your budget
- Estimate the cost of prepaying your mortgage.
You can find First National's mortgage calculators here.
Misc. First National Stats
- First National has been originating and servicing residential and commercial mortgages since 1988.
- First National has over $105 billion in mortgages under administration as of Q3 2018 and counts more than 300,000 single-family borrowers and 5,000 commercial borrowers as clients.
Source: Provider Website