Helping you make wiser investment decisions

Oaken Financial review 2020  | MoneySense

April 24, 2020 Alex Mlynek
Oaken Financial review 2020  | MoneySense

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There are plenty of options for saving and investing in Canada, whether it’s via high-interest savings accounts, TFSAs, RRSPs, or other types of accounts. To help you decide which financial institution might be a good fit for your needs, we’ve taken a close look at Oaken Financial’s offerings, which are available for both personal and commercial clients. Oaken offers GICs and a high-interest savings account (HISA). Read on for a review of those accounts, and what else Oaken has to offer.

Who is Oaken Financial?

Oaken Financial was launched in 2013, but its parent company, Home Trust, was founded more than 30 years ago, in 1987. You may know of Home Trust because of their mortgage and credit card offerings; Oaken is Home Trust’s consumer deposit business. When you open an account or buy a GIC with Oaken Financial, you can choose to do so with either Home Trust or Home Bank, which is a bank the former bought in 2015. Both institutions are members of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which means that any deposits in an Oaken HISA, or investments in a GIC are insured up to $100,000 (this amount includes both your principal deposit and interest earned).

Oaken has bricks-and-mortar locations in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver (though they’re currently closed because of COVID-19) where you can open an account or get information in-person. But you can also sign up or access your account anytime by using Oaken’s online banking site. They also have a phone service, which is open on weekdays from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. (though, again, this has been impacted by COVID-19, so they’re asking customers to reach out to them via the secure members’ messaging centre online).

Oaken Financial review: GICs and High-Interest Savings Accounts

Oaken Financial offers a high-interest savings account and GICs for both personal and commercial clients (think businesses, condo corporations, non-profits). Curious about these options? Read on for a rundown of their ins and outs.

Oaken Financial GICs

Oaken’s GIC offerings include both registered options, meaning that you hold them inside an RRSP or TFSA; and non-registered options, so they cover many types of investor needs. Savers have the choice of terms as short as 30 days and as long as 5 years, with interest rates ranging from 2% to 2.65%, depending on the length of the term and when you choose for your interest to be paid out to you.

It’s important to select the right GIC for your situation, so you can access your money when you need it. If you’re unsure of what you’re saving for or when you might need to get your hands on your money, a cashable GIC allows you to access your investment relatively soon after you’ve made it without getting dinged with a penalty (but keep in mind cashable GICs typically pay lower rates of interest). A short-term GIC is a decent choice if you aren’t likely to require that money for the medium term (say you’re saving for school tuition, or a holiday that’s a year or more away) and want to earn interest while keeping your money safe. For savings goals that are further in the future, a longer-term GIC is a solid choice, as it pays the highest rate of interest. But beware, if you access your money before the term is up, you’ll get hit with a penalty.

If you’ve exceeded your RRSP or TFSA contribution limit, GICs could also be a good place to keep and earn interest on additional savings you don’t need to access in the near term.

Registered GICs (Oaken offers options to hold inside an RRSP, TFSA or RRIF) are a decent option if you are saving for retirement, or are already retired, and want to keep your investment tax-sheltered.

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