In China, “linkages between the banking and shadow banking systems are also becoming more complex and opaque, increasing the underlying credit risk,” the Bank of Canada’s December 2016 risk report says. “The experience of the 2007-09 global financial crisis showed that financial stability can be threatened by vulnerabilities originating in the shadow banking sector.”
As a result of the flood of money pouring from Mainland China into Vancouver real estate in recent years, some financial experts say they believe Canadian banks are directly exposed to shadow lending in China and the risks of so-called “ghost collateral” — meaning collateral that may not exist or is used continuously to secure loans for multiple borrowers.
Postmedia confirmed that Canadian banks are allowed by the federal regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, to accept collateral from China to secure real estate mortgages in B.C.
“OSFI does not dictate what type of collateral (federally regulated banks) can accept,” spokeswoman Annik Faucher said. “Whether the borrower is foreign or domestic, OSFI (allows) financial institutions to compete effectively and take reasonable risks.”
One U.S. hedge fund manager, who did not want to be identified, said: “We all know that the ghost collateral is a huge deal, and we all know that the shadow banking and other Chinese influence in Vancouver is profound. The issue it that the ghost collateral ends up re-hypothecated and laundered. So by the time it shows up in Vancouver, it will likely just look like a rich Chinese cash buyer with a suitcase of money. “
Australian banks stopped accepting Chinese ghost collateral a year or so ago.
That wasn’t early enough and there will be some exposure here too.