Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

Canadian Housing Agency Shuffles Management as CFO Leaves

Updated on
  • Changes come as Canada’s uninsured mortgage market swells
  • Leaders being asked to take on redefined roles, agency says

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. replaced Chief Financial Officer Wojo Zielonka and shuffled its leadership ranks to “better address current and emerging business needs.”

The government-backed mortgage insurer made changes to its leadership team to ensure it continues to meet its business objectives and the housing needs of Canadians, Audrey-Anne Coulombe, spokeswoman for CMHC, said in an email to Bloomberg on Monday. “Many of our leaders have been asked to take on redefined roles."

Lisa Williams, who was previously in charge of multi-unit insurance, replaces Zielonka, who has left the agency. Zielonka was CFO since September 2016 and worked for Ottawa-based CMHC since 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The shuffle at CMHC comes amid rapid changes in the Canada mortgage market. The government is trying to reduce taxpayer exposure to the market and has implemented a slate of new regulations to curb rising home prices and household indebtedness, including stress tests that went into effect this year making it harder to qualify for mortgages.

Amid the changes, home-buyers have been flocking to the uninsured segment. They made up about three-quarters of new loans at federally regulated banks in 2017, up from two-thirds in 2014, the Bank of Canada said last year. Roughly 90 percent of new mortgages in Toronto and Vancouver are now uninsured.

Canada’s housing market suffered one of its biggest upsets last year after Home Capital Group Inc. disclosed that 45 independent brokers submitted loan applications that misstated borrowers’ income and other details, nearly sinking the alternative lender, and stoking fears of a housing slump in Canada. In December, Laurentian Bank of Canada reported similar customer misrepresentations on some of its mortgage loans sold to another firm.

Other changes at CMHC include the combination of the agency’s mortgage insurance and securitization groups under the newly created position of chief commercial officer to be led by Romy Bowers, who was previously chief risk officer. Bowers is replaced by Steven Mennill, former senior vice president of insurance. The vacant chief of staff position was filled by Anik Génier, formerly director of corporate relations.

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