Home Capital suspends dividend as savings account balances drop to $192M

Home Capital has withdrawn $1.4 billion of the $2 billion loan it was recently given as savers continue to pull funds out of the bank.

Company has used up $1.4B of $2B lifeline it secured last month

Home Capital has suspended its dividend to shore up cash, as regulators started a probe into the lender's affairs amid fears over its ability to stay in business. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Home Capital has withdrawn $1.4 billion of the $2 billion loan it was recently given as savers continue to pull funds out of the alternative mortgage lender at an alarming rate.

Home Trust said it had $192 million left in its savings accounts as of the end of Friday. That figure has fallen by more than $1 billion in a matter of weeks as regulators started a probe into the lender's affairs, amid fears over its ability to stay in business.

Another of the company's divisions, Oaken Financial, is seeing its savings accounts holding up a little better, as they stood at $167 million as of Friday. At the end of April, that figure was $222 million.

Savings accounts at both Home Trust and Oaken Financial are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation on the first $100,000. 

In addition to savings accounts, Home Capital also offers GICs, which are so far managing to tread water. As of Friday, the company had $12.64 billion worth of funds in its GIC accounts. At the end of April, that figure was at $12.86 billion.

But GIC's aren't as easy to get out of quickly, because they are somewhat locked in. Almost $7 billion worth of GICs are eligible for withdrawal by the end of this year, ratings agency DBRS noted Monday. "In DBRS's opinion, HCG's liquidity and funding have yet to show signs of stability," the company said.

The parent company secured a $2-billion lifeline from pension plan HOOPP at the end of April, but that loan came with an onerous interest attached. Almost three-quarters of that money has already been spent, in less than two weeks.

As more people withdraw their money, Home Capital is burning through cash, including that lifeline. Unless the company can stem the tide — and fast — they soon won't have enough cash left to loan out new mortgages to stay in business, despite having a portfolio of mortgages that the company says "continues to perform well."

To hoard as much cash as possible, the company also suspended its quarterly dividend on Monday "to prudently manage liquidity."

Home Capital was supposed to reveal its latest quarterly earnings last week, but delayed them until this coming Thursday, after markets closed. Those numbers will be closely scrutinized to see how the company's loans have been performing amid all the noise.

New board of directors

The company also shook up its board of directors on Monday, and all four of the new names come with decades of management experience — a clear move to instil confidence in the company.

Claude Lamoureux, former CEO of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, will join the board along with Paul Haggis, former CEO of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

They're joined by Sharon Sallows, an experienced director with numerous public and private companies, and the new chair, Brenda Eprile, a former partner with consultancy PwC who specializes in risk management. She's also the former chief accountant with the Ontario Securities Commission, which is currently investigating the company. Eprile has been on Home Capital's board since last summer but is now chair.

Investors responded positively to the news, pushing Home Capital shares up about three per cent to just over $6 a share on the TSX. At their peak in 2014, Home Capital shares were trading at more than $55 a share.