Valley First

Latest Interest Rate Cut

Local financial expert urges prudence in wake of latest interest rate cut

July 15, 2015

Penticton, B.C.—Consumers in the Okanagan should exercise caution when considering taking on debt in the wake of the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate cut earlier today.

 “The Bank of Canada’s 25-basis-point drop in the bank rate to 0.50 per cent doesn’t mean B.C. residents should start borrowing excessively, especially in terms of personal mortgages and lines of credit,” says Paul Brodeur, vice-president of wealth management at First West Credit Union’s Valley First division.

“With interest rates at rock-bottom lows, money is inexpensive to borrow right now, but, eventually, interest rates will go back up,” says Brodeur.
While a high debt load might be serviceable now, Brodeur says it will lead to future pain when the rates rise. “And they will rise,” he says.
Beyond credit card debt, lines of credit could also be particularly problematic if borrowers aren’t disciplined. 

“People can become too comfortable increasing their debts using a line of credit secured by the value of their home, especially with housing values in many parts of the Okanagan rising so dramatically in the last decade or so,” he says.
 
Brodeur emphasizes that the need for prudent financial planning has never been more important.

“With the loonie tumbling, high household debt, uncertainty around about whether the Canadian economy is in recession and uncertainty around whether the housing market is inflated, it’s especially important to make sure you’ve established a long-term financial plan,” he says. 

“Anyone who doesn’t have clear financial goals needs to set up a meeting with an expert who can help them establish a financial roadmap.”

Some of the country’s large banks have already introduced lending rate changes in response to the Bank of Canada’s announcement. Brodeur says his credit union will continue monitoring the markets carefully before making any decisions on how to adjust its lending rates.

“It’s a decision that every financial institution must make individually,” says Brodeur. “The important thing is ensuring our members and clients are well-equipped to make wise financial decisions for the long-term.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

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