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Simplii Financial, the direct banking branch of CIBC, is one of the country’s newest banking brands, having launched in 2017.
Simplii came into being following a mutual agreement by CIBC and Loblaw Companies to end their 20-year joint venture of offering low-fee banking services under the brand of President’s Choice Financial.
More than 2 million Canadians bank and borrow with Simplii, which offers services ranging from banking accounts and mortgages to lines of credit, credit cards and a suite of investment products.
What differentiates Simplii from its parent CIBC is that it has no physical branches. Instead, customers can access ATMs across the country to carry out transactions, as well as doing so online or by phone.
In 2019, Forbes magazine named Simplii one of the World’s Best Banks, and the third best in Canada.
Simplii offers a full slate of mortgage products, like most big banks. They tend to be most competitive with more popular terms like the 5-year fixed.
If you’re putting down less than 20% on a new home, be sure to ask for their high-ratio discount, which is 0.10 percentage points as of this writing.
One benefit of a Simplii mortgage is that the bank offers pre-approvals at its best-advertised rates. By contrast, certain lenders charge customers higher rates for pre-approvals.
One thing you need to watch out for is the penalty. Like major banks, Simplii is not considered a “fair penalty lender.” That means you could pay significantly more if you break the mortgage early, relative to many other discount lenders.
Aside from relatively competitive rates, Simplii also offers clients a good cross-section of mortgage features.
Here’s an overview of some of them:
Simplii Financial offers clients a 5-year variable-rate product, which rises and falls as prime rate fluctuates.
However, Simplii is a fixed-payment variable rate lender, meaning that even as prime rate rises or falls, your monthly payment generally remains the same. Instead, the amount of the monthly payment allocated to paying interest vs. principal will fluctuate. Fixed-payment variables are better for those who want a predictable budget. Just remember that if rates truly soar, your payment could be increased to ensure you at least cover the interest due each month.
As noted above, Simplii’s variable-rate mortgages compound semi-annually as opposed to monthly, which can result in a small financial saving for borrowers.
Simplii is one of just a handful of lenders that offer a multitude of cash back rates. These may be of interest to those needing cash back on closing, but we don’t recommend them. For one thing, you’ll usually receive too little cash back to justify the high rate premium of a cash-back mortgage. For another, you must pay the cash back (in pro-rated fashion) if you break the mortgage early, on top of any penalties and fees.
Simplii’s cash back mortgages apply to its 5-, 7- and 10-year terms, with cash back amounts ranging from 1.5% up to 5%.
Simplii sells its mortgages direct-to-consumer, generally through online applications and its call centre.
Simplii Financial products are available across the country, excluding the province of Quebec.
More information about Simplii’s mortgage products is available on its website, and customers can get in touch with support via phone and email.