Bank of Montreal adopts mortgage protocol in Western Canada

On June 30, 2004, the Bank of Montreal will become the first national bank to accept opinions from lawyers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in the conveyance or refinancing of residential properties in accordance with the Western Law Societies Conveyancing Protocol.

A BC lawyer who acts for a financial institution in a mortgage transaction under the protocol is permitted to advise that institution (through a short, standard form opinion) that, if there are no known building location defects on a property, the institution need not obtain an up-to-date building location survey as a condition of funding a mortgage loan. If the financial institution relies on a protocol opinion to fund a mortgage and suffers an actual loss as a result of an unknown building location defect that would have been disclosed by an up-to-date survey, the Lawyers Insurance Fund will, on behalf of the lawyer, accept liability and, as appropriate, pay the cost of repair or any actual loss suffered.

In agreeing to accept opinions under the protocol, the Bank of Montreal joins ranks with national lenders such as the Investors Group, Canadian Western Bank and ING, and with many credit unions across the West that have done the same.

The BC version of the Western Law Societies Conveyancing Protocol and background information is available on the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca. For more information, contact Ron Usher, Staff Lawyer at rusher@lsbc.org.