Santander UK’s provisions for loan losses have surged to £547m, a 295% increase on the year before, its Q3 trading update shows.
In the same nine-month period of 2019, provisions for loan losses for the lender’s UK operations were £138m. Santander also revealed that underlying profit before tax reduced by almost 60%, compared to the first nine months of 2019, to £392m.
The results showed that the lender granted payment holidays to over 340,000 retail customers, with just three percent of loans in arrears after the end of a payment holiday.
Staff redeployment and customer support
The results revealed that around 700 branch colleagues were trained to support call centres and help customers over the phone. Some 72,000 older and vulnerable customers were supported as they may have been more isolated during lockdown.
Mortgage and consumer lending
The results showed that mortgage lending growth has been resilient since the market re-opened in May, although Santander explained that there are signs of the market starting to slow in the last quarter of 2020. The results explained that the consumer credit market contracted sharply as households cut back on “all forms of non-essential spending”.
Santander also saw a four-times increase in online customer chat volumes.
According to the results, Santander UK helped over 137,000 small and large business customers with over £4bn of lending under Covid-19 government schemes.
As of September 2020, total customer loans across Santander UK had reached a gross value of £216bn, an increase from the Q3 2019 figure of £208.9bn.