Menu Toggle
Search
  1. Home
  2. Mortgages
  3. National Bank Mortgage Review 2024
Published December 30, 2023
Reading Time
9 minutes

National Bank Mortgage Review 2024

National Bank is one of Canada's Big 6 banks. It offers a few unique mortgage types in addition to more typical products.

Written By

Edited By

National Bank mortgages at a glance

National Bank is one of Canada’s Big Six banks. It offers a few unique mortgage types — including six-month fixed rates, capped variable rates and loans for self-employed individuals — in addition to more typical products.

    National Bank mortgage key features
    National Bank mortgage types
    • Fixed- and variable-rate mortgages with a wide variety of term options.
    • National footprint with notably high presence in Quebec.
    • Mortgages available for self-employed people.
    • Special offers if you use other National Bank products.
    • Fixed-rate mortgages.
    • Variable-rate mortgages, including a capped-rate option.
    • HELOCs.
    • Mortgages for self-employed individuals.

    Pros

    • Offers mortgages for the self-employed.
    • Compared to other banks, National Bank has a high number of term options.
    • Cash-back offers are available if you bundle some National Bank products and services.

    Cons

    • If pre-approved, National Bank will hold your rate for 90 days, which is shorter than other options. 
    • National Bank’s prepayment limit of 10% is lower than some other lenders. 

    National Bank mortgage review

    National Bank may be the smallest of Canada’s Big Six banks, but, with more than 650 branches, it’s not exactly small. It serves customers across Canada, but the highest concentration of National Bank locations is in Quebec, where more than 250 of its branches are located. 

    Who is National Bank best for?

    As one of Canada’s Big 6 banks, National Bank’s size makes it an option for most Canadians, especially those for whom access to in-person services is an important factor.

    Quebecers looking for brick-and-mortar locations may find National Bank especially appealing with more than 250 sites to choose from. It notably offers a number of niche mortgage types, like a six-year fixed rate and a capped variable rate: If you’re considering options outside the norm, it may be worth looking into National Bank.  

    National Bank may also be a good fit for existing National Bank customers or those open to using the bank for more than just mortgages. There are deals available for those willing to use, for example, National Bank’s chequing or mortgage insurance. 

    Finally, National Bank has a mortgage option specifically designed for people who are self-employed. While other lenders may extend mortgage loans to those who work for themselves, National Bank’s specific outreach to this group may make it an easy option for self-employed borrowers to consider. 

    National Bank mortgage feature overview

    Fixed-rate mortgages

    National Bank advertises 10 fixed rates. In addition to popular three-year and five-year terms, National Bank offers terms that are relatively uncommon, including three months, six months and six years. 

    Variable-rate mortgages

    National Bank doesn’t currently add any interest to the prime rate when calculating its five-year variable rate. While other lenders may have a lower prime rate, NBC’s lack of additional interest would best any lender with the same prime rate and an additional amount. 

    In addition to the standard five-year variable mortgage, National Bank also offers a less common type of variable mortgage: A capped variable mortgage. With this, you’ll pay a higher interest rate at the outset (0.25 percentage points higher at the time of this writing) but are protected to a certain degree from interest spikes. If rates rise above a predetermined limit (1.0 percentage points above the prime rate at the time of this writing), you’ll only pay the rate up to the limit. For those interested in variable rates but concerned about a worst-case-scenario, it may be worth looking into a capped variable mortgage.

    Mortgages for the self-employed

    Income is an important factor in any mortgage application. Lenders use that figure when calculating your debt service ratios — which are comparisons of the money coming into your bank account each month to the debt payments, including your potential mortgage, going out. As part of the application, you’ll typically need to submit documentation, like pay stubs

    But if you’re self employed, verifying your income can be tough. Maybe your paychecks aren’t consistent from month to month. Maybe the documentation is harder to collect. National Bank has a mortgage designed for this situation. To be eligible, you must have been self-employed for at least two years and have credit and income records to show.

    HELOCs

    A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a revolving line of credit — similar to a credit card. That means instead of receiving a predetermined sum upfront like a mortgage, you can borrow an amount up to your borrowing limit at any time. A HELOC uses your home as collateral, similar to a mortgage. 

    National Bank offers HELOCs if you already own your home. It also offers a product that combines the application processes for a mortgage and a HELOC into one.

    Perks if you use other National Bank products

    You can earn cash back by bundling additional National Bank products and services with your mortgage. For example, as of the time of this writing, you can get:

    Customer satisfaction ratings

    It’s difficult to gauge how satisfied Canadians are with National Bank as a mortgage provider. Customer review websites can be helpful, but keep in mind that the reviews aren’t verified and may not accurately reflect the average option of National Bank customers; for example, unhappy customers may be overrepresented in these reviews. Nevertheless, these sites are one way to learn about possible downsides to consider.  

    National Bank’s rating on Trustpilot was 1.7 out of 5 possible stars, with about 30 reviews at the time of this writing. Reviews have feedback about a number of National Bank’s products and services; not just mortgages.

    Rate hold

    National Bank will hold your rate for 90 days if you are pre-approved. This is a shorter window than some lenders. For example, CIBC holds rates for up to 120 days. 

    Mortgage prepayment

    You can pay up to 10% of your original mortgage principal year per calendar year without penalty. This is lower than some other options. For example, HSBC allows prepayments of up to 20% without penalty.

    National Bank mortgage eligibility requirements

    You’ll need to provide a number of documents while applying for a mortgage, including:

    You’ll also need to allow a hard inquiry on your credit score. Many lenders, including National Bank, don’t post exactly how a specific credit score affects your chances of getting approved or the interest rates different scores merit. Plus, those decisions are made after considering many factors, not just a credit score. That said, National Bank says a good credit score is generally 670 or higher, and a score above 800 is excellent.

    Your down payment minimum is determined by the purchase price:

    Purchase priceDown payment minimum
    $500,000 or less.5%
    Between $500,000 and $999,999.5% of the first $500,000 plus 10% of the remaining amount.
    $1 million and over.20%

    Nerdy Tip: Use a mortgage affordability calculator to determine how much you can afford to pay for a home. If you have a unique situation or need additional information about the eligibility requirements, it’s best to speak directly with a mortgage specialist.

    How to apply for a mortgage with National Bank

    Begin the pre-approval process online by completing National Bank’s online form. After submitting, a National Bank mortgage advisor will contact you to finalize your application. If you’d prefer to work with someone from the onset, you can also make an appointment with a National Bank mortgage advisor who can walk you through the steps.

    Alternatives to National Bank’s mortgage products

    True North MortgageRBC MortgageHSBC Mortgage
    Lender typeMortgage brokerageBig Bank lenderBig Bank lender
    Service areaNationalNationalNational
    In-person service?YesYesYes
    Ease of applicationEasy (online, phone, in-person)Easy (online, phone, in-person)Easy (online, phone, in-person)
    Mortgage varietyAbove averageAverageAbove average

    How to choose the right mortgage lender

    Choosing a mortgage lender is a big decision. A mortgage is a large debt, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll also need to learn the basics about the home buying process. Start by making a list of what’s important to you, and spend time comparing offers from the different types of providers.

    You can start by following these steps:

    Decide your budget: It’s important to have an idea of how much mortgage you can comfortably afford before talking with lenders. They may offer you more than you want to spend; it’s important to be ready for that conversation.

    Understand the different types of lenders: Mortgage providers include banks, credit unions, brokers, alternative lenders, and private lenders. Each has its pros and cons.

    Compare offers from three different lenders: To ensure you have a good idea of what’s out there, consider seeking mortgage pre-approval from a big bank, a broker and one other type of alternative lender.

    Don’t focus too much on rates: The interest rate is just one part of the mortgage equation. Yes, you want the most competitive rate possible, but it’s also important to weigh the reputation of the lender, the quality of customer service they provide, the types of loans they offer, the fees they charge, and the flexibility of terms they may offer.

    How National Bank calculates your mortgage payment

    Like most mortgage brokers and lenders, National Bank will consider the following when estimating what the regular payment might be for your future mortgage:

    Example:

    TOTAL MORTGAGE: $615,150
    MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT: $3,778

    » MORE: Use our mortgage payment calculator to compare different loan scenarios.

    DIVE EVEN DEEPER

    Image Placeholder

    NerdWallet Canada’s Mortgage Reviews

    Shopping for a mortgage? We’ve reviewed Big Banks, brokers, B Lenders and online-only lenders — along with some of their most popular products — to help you finance your home purchase, refinance or renewal with confidence.

    Find The Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates In Canada

    Find The Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates In Canada

    Compare customized 5-year fixed mortgage rates from Canada’s best lenders and brokers for free. Find the lowest mortgage rate and apply for the home loan that best fits your needs.

    Mortgage Payment Calculator: Canada

    Mortgage Payment Calculator: Canada

    Use this free Canadian mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payments, and see how rates and amortization affect total cost over time.

    Find the Best 3-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates In Canada

    Find the Best 3-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates In Canada

    Find the right 3-year fixed mortgage rate for your home buying needs.

    Back To Top