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Julie Dickson will Resign from Post as OSFI Head in 2014

Anyone who’s been following the Canadian housing market over the past year is familiar with the name Julie Dickson. She’s the current head of the watchdog organization, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI,) and as of next year, she’s stepping down from her post.

It was last week when media relations head of OSFI, Annik Faucher, told the media that Julie Dickson would not be returning after her post was up, and that she “will not be seeking another term.” This is not an usual move for the position and in fact, Dickson has held it longer than most, keeping the job for seven years instead of the typical five.

During her time at the OSFI, Dickson has made some pretty major headlines, mostly for the role her office has played in tightening mortgage rules. It was because of the OSFI that new restrictions were placed on loan-to-value ratios, amortization periods, and some pretty tough regulations for first-time home buyers as well.

And she’s not done there. During a speech she recently delivered at the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit, Dickson said that she would still be “closely monitoring” the low interest rates we’ve been enjoying for so long; and she stressed the need for strong “regulation and supervision” of banking in order to continue to maintain a strong line of defense against any consequences those low rates might bring with them. She cited the biggest risks as being “falling margins and increased reliance on higher-yielding assets.”

Dickson is currently busy conducting reviews of mortgage lending portfolios, including the models lenders are using to calculate capital charges for uninsured mortgages.

Dickson will step down next year in 2014, as that is when her term with the OSFI ends. But some worry that during that time, she’ll become even tougher and succumb to global pressure to make obtaining a mortgage just as difficult in Canada as it is in other parts of the world. And some think that’s an overreach, and an overreaction.

Do you think that Julie Dickson will use her last several months to impose even stricter and harsher rules? Or do you think that until there’s a new head of the OSFI, things will be business as usual?

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