The main job of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is to keep banks out of trouble, and the mortgage stress test ensured none of them were adding riskier creditors to their massive home-loan portfolios. But at the end of January, out of nowhere, the federal banking regulator appeared to go wobbly on the test.
Why? Rita Trichur, one of the better chroniclers of Bay Street, offered a plausible answer. “If you’re wondering why OSFI is suddenly considering fiddling with the stress test as froth builds in the Vancouver and Toronto housing markets, household debt remains high and consumer insolvencies are rising, look no further than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his waning political fortunes,” she said in the Globe and Mail on Feb. 13.
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