Canadian banks hurt by subprime, singing the blues

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index closed lower on Monday after soaring in the morning as financial issues, weighed down by credit market worries, couldn’t hold gains. Canadian banks and other financial services institutions, which account for about 30 percent of the overall index, have taken a beating from the fallout of worries over the faltering U.S. subprime mortgage market. Back in March Canada painted a different picture.

A Canadian mortgage industry association called the domestic mortgage market “a picture of health,” compared with the United States. While that might be true that’s no saying much. But we were also told the subprime market makes up 5 per cent or less of all outstanding mortgages in Canada, versus about 20 percent in the United States.