The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, or CIBC for short, is one of Canada’s Big Six banks boasting 11 million clients globally. The bank employs more than 40,000 employees throughout its 1,076 branch locations located in Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, Asia and the UK.
The bank became known as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1961 following the merger of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which was founded in 1867, and the Imperial Bank of Canada, founded in 1873.
The bank was a pioneer in mobile banking, becoming the first of Canada’s chartered banks to launch a mobile banking app in 2010. It has since been recognized for its mobile and online banking functionality by Forrester Research.
CIBC has seen its mortgage portfolio grow consistently over the years. It now administers over $204 billion of mortgages in Canada, as of Q2 2020. The bank offers a number of specialty mortgage products, including the CIBC Home Power Mortgage, CIBC Wealth Builder Mortgage, CIBC New Resident and Non-Resident Programs and cashback mortgages.
CIBC mortgages cannot be obtained through a mortgage broker ever since the bank left the broker channel in 2012.
Its fixed mortgage products come with 10% lump-sum prepayment privileges that allow borrowers to pay up to 10% of the mortgage value each year (compared to 20% at most other banks). You can also increase your regular payment amount (principal and interest) by up to 100% on any regular payment date during the term.
Variable rates have a 20% lump-sum prepayment option. Plus, you can increase your original regular payment amount (principal and interest) by up to 100% at any time during the term. Payment frequencies include weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly. The bank offers rate holds of 90 days (except for pre-approvals, which come with a 120-day rate hold).
CIBC's rates are based on a 25-year amortization, whereas 30-year amortizations are available in most cases for a 0.10 percentage point surcharge
CIBC, like all of Canada’s big 6 banks, offers three types of mortgage rates:
CIBC offers a variety of fixed-rate mortgages from a short-term mortgage of just six months, to decade-long mortgage terms.
The most popular of all is CIBC’s 5-year fixed rate, which balances a competitive rate (for a big bank) with a medium-length term, which many borrowers prefer, so as to avoid regular renewals.
CIBC’s fixed mortgage rates come with inferior prepayment options compared to other banks (and CIBC’s variable rate mortgages). They entail a restrictive 10% lump sum prepayment option each year (many other banks allow up to 20%), and a 90-day hold, whereas other banks and CIBC pre-approvals come with a 120-day rate hold.
There are two key reasons why a borrower would opt for a floating-rate mortgage:
CIBC offers clients three variable-rate mortgage products: its CIBC Variable Flex Mortgage (3- and 5-year closed terms), and its CIBC Variable-Rate Open Mortgage (5-year term).
Its Flex Mortgage gets its name from the added flexibility provided in the form of higher prepayment privileges (20% lump sum payment of your original mortgage principal and up to a 100% increase in your regular payment amount).
Payment frequency options include bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly.
An added benefit of a CIBC variable rate mortgage is the ability to opt for fixed-payments. This means that if rates were to rise or fall, your monthly mortgage payment would remain the same, while the amount going towards interest payment would fluctuate.
One knock against CIBC variable-rate mortgages is that the bank bases its prepayment penalties on a higher rate than most lenders: prime rate (as opposed to the borrower’s lower contract rate). In some cases, that can cause penalties to be up to $1,000 more per $100,000 of the mortgage balance.
* As of June 1, 2020
|Year||5-yr fixed rate|
For those needing to tap into their home equity for a major purchase or financial emergency, CIBC offers its Home Power Plan, a mortgage and home equity credit line rolled into one.
The CIBC Home Power Plan functions as a re-advanceable mortgage, where the borrower’s line of credit grows automatically as the mortgage is paid down. Like similar products from the other banks, homeowners can access up to 80% of the value of their home, although only 65% can be in the form of a revolving credit line.
On the credit line portion, you only have to pay the interest each month. The mortgage portion has regular amortizing payments, and as the balance is paid down, your available credit automatically increases on the line of credit. HELOCs are commonly used to fund large renovation projects, for post-secondary education, as an alternative to emergency cash funds and for investment purposes, to name just a few uses.
CIBC is known for its “prime rate” promotional offers on HELOCs. Just be warned. After a period of time, the pricing usually reverts to prime plus a certain increment, like prime + 0.50% for example.
Many of the country’s big banks offer special banking services geared towards newcomers to Canada, and CIBC is no exception. With the CIBC Newcomer to Canada Program Mortgage and CIBC Foreign Worker Program Mortgage, those with no Canadian credit history can still participate in the dream of Canadian homeownership.
The Newcomer to Canada Program is limited to those who have been permanent residents of Canada for five years or less, while the Foreign Worker Program is limited to temporary residents with a valid Canadian work permit of 12 months or longer.
Applicants for these speciality programs may not get CIBC's absolute lowest mortgage rates and generally have to make higher down payments, like 35%.
CIBC offers its own branded mortgages through its call centre, online app or mortgage advisors.
The bank no longer deals through mortgage brokers. It left the broker channel in 2012. So, if you’re using a mortgage broker, you won’t be able to obtain a CIBC mortgage.
To contact a CIBC mortgage representative at anytime over the phone, call 1-866-525-8622. Or just go to cibc.com and fill out the pre-approval form online. Someone from the bank will then contact you within one business day.
Since CIBC doesn’t participate in the mortgage broker channel, it instead offers personalized advice through its team of in-house mortgage advisors. Similar to mortgage brokers, big-bank mortgage advisors can buy down your rate further by using a portion of their commission. So, don’t be afraid to ask.
Convenience is the bank’s primary objective, so CIBC’s mortgage advisors offer mortgage advice over the phone a time of your choosing up to 10 p.m. Like most bank advisors, beware of their bias towards the bank’s products.
If you’re about to start house shopping, first you need to know how much mortgage you’ll qualify for. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval from CIBC is easy and can be done completely online.
Once you have your digital CIBC Pre-Approved Mortgage Certificate, your quoted interest rate will be held for 120 days. You can then start your house-hunting process with the confidence of knowing the maximum price you can afford.
Just remember that while a pre-approval is a commitment by the bank to fund your mortgage, there are still conditions to be met. This can include the property appraisal and a satisfactory review of your documents. To avoid any surprises:
A big-bank mortgage is like the price tag on a used car. People rarely pay the sticker price without at least attempting to negotiate a better deal.
You can improve your odds by ensuring you have a high credit score and clean credit history. It helps if you have some history with the bank, including other financial products with them, such as a chequing or savings account, or at least a credit card.
It’s also imperative that you do your research before negotiating your mortgage rate with your bank, whether it be a new mortgage or the renewal of an existing mortgage. Rate comparison sites such as Rates.ca are often your best friend, showing you what other lenders are offering for comparable mortgage products.
If you’re dealing with a CIBC Mortgage Advisor, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ll use part of their commission to “buy down” your rate. This is a good way to determine how badly they want your business. While mortgage brokers commonly buy down rates for their clients, it’s somewhat less common among big bank mortgage specialists, but it is possible.
Finally, CIBC private banking and Imperial banking customers sometimes get slightly better rates than regular customers. Use this to your advantage if you bank with one of those divisions.
Loyalty at most big banks is seldom rewarded with the lowest possible mortgage rates.
If you have a CIBC mortgage that’s coming up for renewal, don’t expect the bank to offer you the very best deals. Big banks typically reserve their lowest pricing to attract new clients, while offering existing mortgage customers somewhat inferior rates by comparison.
Renewal offers can always be negotiated down, however. But you’ll need to be well qualified and have a solid credit history.
Should the bank refuse to match rates available at other lenders for a comparable product, don’t be afraid to take your business elsewhere. Switching isn’t that much of a chore.
Just be aware that you will have to pass the mortgage stress test should you change lenders at renewal time. Make sure to begin your renewal bargaining at least 90 days in advance to allow ample time to shop your mortgage around if needed.
Like all of the big banks, CIBC has a selection of useful mortgage calculators to assist with your mortgage research and cost comparisons. Here’s a list of some of its top mortgage calculators:
CIBC's full list of mortgage calculators is available here.
These are some of the benefits of getting a mortgage with CIBC:
Certain borrowers prefer to steer clear of big banks when it comes to getting a mortgage. Here are some potential disadvantages of a mortgage with CIBC:
Being one of Canada’s Big 6 banks, CIBC’s prime rate is factored into the formula that sets the country’s benchmark prime rate (upon which all floating-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit are priced).
Banks and other lenders typically adjust their prime rate following changes to the Bank of Canada’s overnight target rate.
CIBC is rarely the first bank to announce its new prime rate, although it usually adjusts its prime rate in unison with the other banks once the first announcement is made.
CIBC calculates prepayment charges, a.k.a. penalties for breaking your closed mortgage early, the same as Canada’s other big banks.
For fixed rates, they are based on the greater of:
Variable rates are assessed just a three-month interest penalty, albeit at the bank’s prime rate—a more costly policy than most banks.