Supporting customers Covid-19

These are extraordinary times for us all.

While for some work continues on, possibly from home, there are others that will be impacted. For some there is financial uncertainty, and households will juggle their finances as people are furloughed or laid off.

However, there is help if you are struggling with your consumer credit repayments. This includes the new payment deferral. This has been created by the Financial Conduct Authority and allows for a pause on payments for one month.

Anyone wanting to make use of the new options must engage with those expecting payment. The FCA has agreed to protect the standing and credit files of those impacted by the Covid19. This is only available if you get in contact.

If you miss a payment without getting in touch, then the situation will be complicated. Unfortunately, you may find that there are long-term consequences.

There are also long-standing forbearance tools such as breathing space, payment plans or formal debt tools if this is not a temporary problem.

To get in contact with a lender, their contact details will be available on the information they sent you when you took out your loan. Or check their website for any new channels that they have established to help during this pandemic. Many lenders have set up chat functions or new emails to ensure that you can register any issues.

Of course, lenders have been impacted as much as any company so may be operating with fewer staff. I know they will appreciate your patience.

If you also have other loans or mortgage payments, then it makes sense to get in contact with those lenders as well. They may also be able to provide you with help including payment holidays.

The support available

  1. The FCA has introduced new guidance for lending firms setting out new options for lenders to take if contacted by a customer who says they are temporarily impacted by Covid19. This includes the option to pause payments for one month, without incurring any additional interest. Those seeking this option will have their credit rating protected. The new rules can be found here. This does require you to contact your lender in advance.
  2. Lenders regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority are always expected to offer forbearance to those individuals who find themselves in financial trouble. This will include considering the suspension of payments, reducing, waiving or cancelling any further interest or charges. Many members will also apply breathing space policies to allow individuals the time to bring forward their own suggestions, such as payment plans to fit their financial circumstances.