Finding the best products for your Business for Self (BFS) clients

With clients increasingly turning to side hustles, contracts and other business ventures, more and more brokers are needing to source just the right BFS (Business for Self) option for their clients. As a mortgage broker, so much of your value is derived from working those nuanced deals and providing guidance and direction to your clients. After all – that’s why they’re working with you right?

Thousands of Canadian mortgage professionals use Lender Spotlight – an online database of lender products and policies. Lender Spotlight makes it super easy to search for products that support BFS policies and help you arrive at a solution or recommendation for your clients. 

On Lender Spotlight, there has been a steady increase in questions and BFS queries; in fact, about a 100% increase in searches when compared to similar time frames in 2023.

So, what types of BFS programs are there? 

BFS - Bank Statement Program & Other Niche BFS Programs
As a broker you can leverage this type of program when your client cannot qualify on their taxable income. For example – a contractor who, upon filing, declares very little income. The lender will review their bank statements to confirm that they can afford the regular monthly mortgage payments. 

BFS - Stated Income Insured
This program encompasses two mortgage insurer programs: Low Doc Advantage from Canada Guaranty and Sagen Alt A. This program is designed for self-employed borrowers who are unable to provide traditional income verification but have a proven 2 year history of managing their credit and finances responsibly. Eligible borrowers typically own a small size business for a minimum of two years, which can be confirmed via a third – party arm’s length document (like a contract or license). In addition, the borrower is required to declare their annual income and annual business revenue, which should be reasonable based on the industry, length of operation and type of business.

BFS - CMHC Enhanced Program
As a broker you can leverage this program for clients who are recently self-employed and  who have been operating their business for less than 24 months, or have been in the same line of work for less than 24 months. 

BFS - Professional Programs
Clients who are in a specialized industry are increasingly seeing lenders create programs just for them. For example – someone in the medical industry may see a lender allowing those professionals the ability to borrow based on future income in the purchase of a home. This makes it easier, of course, for them to qualify since they will be very quickly making the income that’s been projected upon them.

how to leverage these policies for your clients in Lender Spotlight 

How to Search for “Business for Self” in the Lender Spotlight Policy Section 
There are four policy areas in our “Policies” section regarding BFS.

Income - BFS (CMHC Program)
This includes all the lenders who do and do not participate in the CMHC BFS Enhanced Program. This is for those borrowers who have been BFS for less than 24 months or have been in the same line of work for less than 24 months. 

Income - BFS (Other BFS Programs, Bank Statement etc)
This section contains information for lenders with other BFS programs like Alternative Bank Statement Programs or Bank specific BFS programs. The lender programs mentioned here are not insured programs. 

Income - BFS Confirmed
This area is for borrowers who can verify their income via traditional CRA documentation and includes what the lender will require for mortgage qualification.

Income - BFS Stated (Sagen & CG Program)
This policy area displays lenders who are participating in some form of the Sagen Program (Business for Self Alt A) or The Canada Guaranty Program (Low Doc Advantage). It describes what they require for mortgage qualification and any adjustments to the insurer program the lender is following.


These policies are all available on Lender Spotlight – the industry’s most trusted and comprehensive online rates and policies database.

Go to Lender Spotlight to review the policies.

Feel like you need more help? Book into our live Lender Spotlight session.

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