In an effort to soften the potential effect of an eventual rise in interest rates and slow the increase in household debt, Canada has tightened residential mortgage-lending rules and imposed additional disclosure rules applicable to federally regulated mortgage lenders. Canada has also tightened the criteria for participation in guaranteed mortgage-backed securities. These stricter requirements have further complicated the already complex rules impacting the financial services industry, especially mortgage lenders, brokers and administrators.
Blakes is recognized as having Canada's pre-eminent financial services practice, including the largest and most active financial services regulatory practice in the country. Leading financial institutions, mortgage lenders, administrators and brokers, loan originators and buyers, consumer finance companies, and parties involved in mortgage securitization programs retain us for guidance in respect of their residential mortgage businesses.
We often advise on documents and procedures for residential mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), insurance-backed mortgage requirements, mortgage prepayment rules, insurance and underwriting practices and procedures, as well as portfolio acquisitions, management and sales, mortgage-backed securities and a host of other matters related to residential mortgages. Clients regularly engage us to advise on related issues including consumer credit, data protection and security, privacy, disclosure and consent requirements, language requirements, consumer protection, e-commerce and anti-money laundering issues. Additionally, they seek our advice on the regulatory restrictions impacting their consumer mortgage products, marketing and advertising campaigns, and their business operations, commercial contracts and growth strategies.
Blakes lawyers are frequently called upon to review, draft and update client policies and processes, assure compliance with laws, regulations and codes of conduct and assist clients with compliance in connection with developing and modernizing their residential mortgage products and practices. We advise on federal-provincial jurisdictional issues and the complex issues associated with dual regulation of this business. We assist our clients on their dealings with regulatory agencies and industry associations, including the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and applicable provincial regulators.