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Banks bring in easing measures in response to the coronavirus

Major banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are introducing extra forbearance measures for customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

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RBS has confirmed it will allow the deferral of mortgage and loan repayments for up to three months, while customers may also be offered the chance to close fixed savings accounts to access cash with no early closure charge.


It will also offer refunds on credit card cash advance fees, temporary increased credit card limits and increased cash withdrawal limits of up to £500.


RBS said the measures are not a blanket provision and they will be offered to customers in financial difficulty on a case-by case basis.


“We understand that there may be circumstances where a personal customer may fall into financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of Coronavirus, for instance, loss of income," a spokeswoman for RBS said. "We will look to understand each customer’s situation on a case-by-case basis and can offer a number of options to help them manage their finances. We would encourage any customer experiencing financial difficulty to get in touch with us.”


Santander, meanwhile, told Credit Strategy it has a team of experts on hand to support customers affected by the coronavirus.


It said support for customers includes the option to defer or reduce repayments that are due and, like RBS, would be offered on a case-by-case basis.


Barclays confirmed that it would be following suit, removing penalty charges for customers to access their fixed savings accounts early and allowing temporary increases on credit card limits.


For its part, Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed a package of support available to SME customers, announcing it has allocated up to £2bn of arrangement fee-free finance.


Lloyds’ small business customers can access:

  • No arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases
  • No arrangement fees for new or increased invoice discounting and finance facilities
  • In certain circumstances, repayment holidays to be provided, to those businesses impacted the most.

It has yet to confirm measures for consumers.


NatWest made a similar announcement, confirming a £5bn package of funding to support small and medium-sized businesses across the UK.


The steps come after the Italian government announced mortgage repayments would be suspended while the country is under lockdown.


Credit Strategy is waiting to hear from HSBC and Nationwide on what measures they will put in place for customers affected by covid-19.


More to follow.

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