What is a Monoline Lender?

A Monoline lender in our industry means a sole focus on mortgages, allowing you access to better rates and options to help you save cash, now and later. True North Mortgage is a Monoline — with industry-best rates and service. But we're also a broker, to ensure you have access to all Monoline options (and big banks) for your best solution.

Mar 03, 2023

Originally posted April 4, 2016


One line of lending, for better rates and more flexibility.

True North Mortgage is one of the largest independent mortgage brokerages in Canada. We partner with several accredited lenders to offer your best mortgage rates and solutions. That includes major banks, trust companies — and monoline lenders who only offer mortgages, including our in-house, CMHC-approved lender, THINK Financial.

Monoline mortgage lenders don't offer other lending services, such as credit cards or even chequing accounts, and typically don't have physical locations. Well — True North does, with 11 locations across Canada, because some clients really want that face-to-face mortgage support.

With a singular lending focus, it's a model with less overhead for cost savings that can be passed on to our clients. Major banks can't access monoline lenders, but we can because we're also a broker. That way, we can offer you your best rate and a product with the lender that makes sense for your situation.

As a Monoline lender, we can offer many benefits beyond your lower rate.

We focus on residential mortgages. That means that we can typically offer your best rate with speedy, personalized service. In fact, our rates are proven to be 0.20% lower on average compared to all our competition, including other monoline lenders (for years now).

And, we put you first. Our happy clients have left us over 14,000 5-star reviews, the most in the industry by far.

We feel that we're the best of the Monolines — with faster approval times, more flexible pre-payment options, lower fees and penalties, and highly trained, salaried brokers who can help you in your preferred language.

Monoline lenders can offer you a mortgage advantage:

  • A sole focus on mortgage lending means clients aren't cross-sold on other products, such as chequing or savings accounts, personal insurance, investments, or credit cards
  • Lower overhead is passed along to clients as savings through lower mortgage rates, which can translate to lower penalties should the mortgage be discharged prior to the end of the term
  • Monoline lenders are heavily regulated, just like the rest of the mortgage industry, with the same client protections in place as for the major banks
  • Monoline mortgages are typically registered on title as a 'standard charge' instead of 'collateral charge,' which means clients can transfer to another lender at the end of the mortgage term without incurring legal fees (providing there isn’t a 2nd mortgage and/or secured line of credit on the title)
  • Some monoline lenders are more flexible in certain circumstances, such as for property investors, people with damaged credit, and self-employed individuals
  • Approval times can be faster compared to major banks, crucial for deals with an urgent closing date
  • Increased pre-payment flexibility
  • Online access to your mortgage is often provided, as well as more convenient customer service options

Your mortgage situation is unique, and every client has different mortgage needs. But all deserve the best rate. We assess your details, quickly and thoroughly, to determine which lender is the best fit — and quite often, we recommend a Monoline lender.

Are there any risks in using a Monoline lender?

Monolines are no riskier than any other type of bank. They're in the business of lending money, not holding it, but they have the same strict government regulations as the major banks. They also must follow similar disclosures and lending guidelines. In fact, many Monolines actually receive funding from major banks.

Should a Monoline lender terminate their business operations, another financial institution would take over their mortgages. For example, when Scotiabank acquired Tangerine (formally known as ING Direct) along with FirstLine (who was in the process of transferring their mortgages over to CIBC), all of the held mortgages stayed 'as-is' throughout the process, with virtually no impact to the borrower.

Get your best monoline lender — with True North Mortgage.

Whether you choose a mortgage through our in-house lender (and its industry-best rates and products), or we pair you with a different one, our highly trained True North Mortgage brokers will find your best option to save thousands. Because we're salaried and non-commissioned, you get unbiased advice that fits you, not a particular lender. It's our job, which we love.

We make it easy. And we're here to help. Stop by, give us a call, chat up our chatbot, Morgan, or apply online — and one of our friendly, expert mortgage brokers will help make your (mortgage) day.

We make it easy to save. Apply with us today.