Meridian Credit Union Mortgage Rates
Notes on Meridian Credit Union
It enjoys more than 334,000 members and reported assets under administration of $17 billion as of 2018. It provides services through 90 branches and 11 commercial business centres.
Unlike profit-driven major banks, Meridian is a cooperative. It is 100% owned by its members.
That means it doesn't have to earn the same return and can advertise lower mortgage rates in many cases.
As a credit union, it also reinvests its profits to provide better products, and to further charity in its communities.
Meridian Credit Union Mortgage Rates
Meridian has a history of hyper-competitive mortgage rates, particularly around the spring market. It holds the Canadian record for the lowest lender-advertised mortgage rate, that being a 1.48% eighteen-month fixed in April 2015.
The credit union's specials typically expire after a short time, just long enough to get good media exposure. Meridian's 1.98% two-year fixed in spring 2019 lasted just two weeks.
The company has all the usual big-bank-style financing for those looking to finance a purchase, switch their mortgage from another lender, as well as those looking to switch or refinance their mortgages.
It boasts a simple and efficient process, allowing you to apply completely online, or with the assistance of a mortgage specialist who can schedule a visit to your home or business at a time that's convenient for you.
Meridian generally offers 90-day rate holds on its mortgage products, as well as flexible 20% payment increase and 20% lump sum prepayment privileges annually.
Unlike some other mortgage providers, Meridian offers a skip-a-payment option, as well as numerous payment schedule options, including weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly and accelerated weekly and bi-weekly.
Optional Group Mortgage Protection (GMP) is also available with all mortgages. But this type of product is not portable to all other lenders, so borrowers might want to consider term life insurance instead (talk to a licensed insurance advisor as this is not advice).
For newcomers to Canada, Meridian offers a New to Canada program whereby it assists immigrants to establish a Canadian credit rating. Once secured, the program can assist applicants secure a mortgage on their first home.
Renewing a Meridian Credit Union Mortgage
As with all lenders, you need to compare mortgage rates online to ensure the renewal offer the lender is giving you is reasonable. This is especially true if you're renewing one of Meridian's famous short-term rate specials.
The good thing about this lender is that it shows its best everyday mortgage rates online, unlike the major banks which often make you guess at their best unpublished rates.
In general, if you can save at least 5-10 basis points (0.05 to 0.10) off the rate by switching lenders, after all fees, it's often worth it, assuming you're well qualified, moving into a mortgage that has equal or better features and have a sufficiently large mortgage and remaining amortization.
Meridian Credit Union's Home Equity Line of Credit
Those with an existing Meridian Credit Union mortgage can take advantage of its Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) for quick access to the equity in their home.
Its HELOC rates are generally competitive (similar to the big banks). Funds can easily be used to consolidate higher interest debt, as well as for home renovations that will increase the value of your home, or simply for a financial emergency.
For those who would like their HELOC to grow as more equity becomes available in their home, Meridian offers its Flex-Equity Mortgage Line, which combines your mortgage and HELOC. As you continue to pay down your fixed mortgage, that additional equity automatically increases the available limit on your HELOC portion.
Meridian offers a 90-day rate hold on its HELOC.
Other Meridian Mortgages
Meridian markets a few other notable products, one being its "Family + Friends" mortgage. This lets you add other people to your mortgage application to increase the total income and/or down payment and help you get approved. In fact, most other lenders offer this very same thing but they don't explicitly market it.
In a mortgage application with co-applicants, all borrowers are equally and 100% liable for the mortgage. Therefore, the company encourages such borrowers to enter into a joint ownership agreement to protect their financial interests (but they say it's not mandatory).
Meridian also offers cashback mortgages and cash rewards for those who buy a home with a Meridian-affiliated realtor. It's best to inquire with the credit union for details on these offers as terms may change.
How Do I Get a Meridian Mortgage?
Meridian sells mortgages mainly through its branches and mortgage specialists. All applicants must become credit union members to get a mortgage. A small fee applies.
It's also at the forefront of the digital mortgage trend, allowing customers to select their mortgage rate online, create an account and lock in their rate for 90 days. Members can then finish and submit their mortgage application at their leisure (it takes about 20 minutes). Meridian sends the approval online. Customers upload their documents and sign them digitally, all without ever having to meet a person.
The credit union also distributes some of its mortgages through mortgage brokers, but not all. The CU typically prefers to keep its best deals for its own sales forces, which means you usually have to go direct to get its ultra-low special rates.
Mortgage brokers more commonly sell Meridian's non-prime products, like its stated income or non-OSFI compliant mortgages. Those mortgages are stress-test exempt, meaning it's much easier to qualify for approval, versus a big bank mortgage. Albeit, these products come with materially higher mortgage rates.
Meridian Credit Union Mortgage Payment Calculator
To determine your monthly mortgage payments on a Meridian mortgage, you can find Meridian's mortgage calculator here. It will let you see what your mortgage payments and balance would look like over time depending on certain variables, such as interest rate, payment frequency, amortization and term.
What is Meridian Credit Union's Prime Rate?
Meridian's prime rate generally follows that of the major banks. It almost always rises and falls in line with the Bank of Canada's overnight rate. Here's a link to the latest Canadian prime rate.
History of Meridian Credit Union
Founded in 2005, Meridian (through its predecessor organizations) actually dates back over 75 years.
In 2011, the membership of Meridian and Desjardins Credit Union (the Ontario affiliate of Desjardins Group) voted to move ahead with a merger of the two organizations and the former Desjardins branches were renamed to Meridian.
And in 2016, Meridian announced its new wholly owned national chartered bank called "motusBank." motusbank launched in 2019 and is a fully digital bank (no branches). Check motusbank mortgage rates for more info as it often has mortgage deals that its mothership does not.
Meridian has twice been recognized--in 2009 and 2010--by Maclean's magazine as one of Canada's top 100 employers.
1 Source: Canadian Credit Union Association, Q2 2018
Source: Provider Website