One year of lockdown

Today marks one year since the country was first put into lockdown. It has been an undeniably tough 12 months for many as the pandemic changed how we live our lives - whether that meant becoming proficient home schoolers or moving businesses online. Over the past year the banking and finance industry has worked hard to provide a safety net for those whose finances have been impacted during these unprecedented times.

While figures show that some people were able to save money during lockdown, others needed greater financial support as Covid-19 negatively impacted their finances. Payment deferrals across mortgages and consumer credit have provided vital support to those who may have lost their jobs or experienced reduced income over the course of the pandemic.

Banks and lenders provided a total of 2.75 million mortgage payment deferrals in 2020, with nearly one in five (17 per cent) mortgage borrowers needing a payment deferral at the peak in June 2020.

Additionally, banks and lenders provided 1.18 million credit card payment deferrals and 828,000 personal loan payment deferrals over the last year, with 27 million interest-free overdrafts also offered.

Although many people have now returned to making full repayments, lenders are providing tailored support for anyone who has come to the end of their deferral and is still struggling,. We urge any customer who is worried about their finances to get in touch with their lender as early as possible to get the help they need.

The health and safety of staff and customers has been a priority throughout the pandemic. While most bank branches have stayed open to serve customers who are able to visit in person, vulnerable customers who have been shielding and unable to access a bank or cash machine have not been forgotten. Over the past year, £7 million was provided in home cash deliveries, while 10,000 customers benefited from cards which allow carers or a trusted person to make limited transactions on their behalf, such as a food shop or to pay for medication. Banks also proactively contacted 17 million vulnerable customers to offer help and directed over two million enquiries to specialist support lines. Combined, these measures helped to keep vulnerable people, and their money, safe.

This has also been a tough year for many businesses. The industry delivered an unprecedented level of finance to help firms cope with the impact of the pandemic, with gross lending in the first three quarters of 2020 more than double the annual total in 2019.

Through the government-backed lending schemes, lenders have provided almost £73 billion in finance to more than 1.6 million businesses across the UK. These schemes sit alongside a range of additional measures from the industry, including working capital extensions, overdraft extensions and capital repayment holidays, all geared to help businesses navigate these difficult times. Unfortunately, we know that not all businesses will survive. But the support given by the banking and finance sector throughout the pandemic has meant many businesses have been able to retain staff, keep customers and staff safe by installing protective screens, adapt by moving their business online, and continue to operate during restrictions.

Our industry has worked incredibly hard to help the UK through these tough times. But we know that the job isn't done yet. We are proud to have supported our customers through this unprecedented pandemic, and we will continue our support as we emerge from the other side.