Ongoing support for mortgages and consumer credit customers

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, the UK's banking and finance sector has been working hard to support people's financial wellbeing. In partnership with the government and regulators, the industry has put forward a range of measures to help customers whose finances have been impacted by this pandemic and give them vital breathing space. This has included granting a total of two million payment deferrals on mortgages, 1.05 million payment deferrals on credit cards, 707,000 payment deferrals on personal loans, and over 27 million overdraft buffers applied to primary current accounts. As highlighted in the latest Bank of England Financial Stability Report, this support to households has helped to mitigate the economic impact of this crisis to date.

The industry is now working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as it considers future support for customers who are in financial difficulty beyond 31 October, whether or not they have taken payment deferrals on mortgages and unsecured lending. Lenders are committed to providing ongoing support to those customers who need it and there are a range of options available, including payment deferrals in appropriate cases.

Data provided by UK Finance members suggests many customers who took out a mortgage payment deferral are now able to resume making full repayments. The total number of mortgage payment deferrals in place at any one time peaked in the week ending 5 June at over 1.8 million. By the end of the week ending 10 July, this number had fallen to 943,000.

Initial data suggests that of those whose mortgage payment deferral has come to an end, over 70 per cent have resumed making full payments. However, a significant number of customers have taken further payment deferrals and will need continued support. Data on payment deferrals for unsecured lending products such as personal loans and credit cards is not yet available, but we can expect that a number of these customers will also require ongoing support.

We expect this picture to evolve in the coming months and anticipate that more customers may take out payment deferrals from now until the end of October, depending on the economic outlook and the impact of the Job Retention Scheme winding down.  And we know that other customers will need support beyond that, even if they have not taken advantage of the payment deferral schemes.

The ability to offer payment deferrals on a straightforward basis to customers was introduced following the lockdown, as a way for lenders to be able to rapidly provide support to those who needed it during an unprecedented situation. It will always be better for a customer who can afford to continue to make payments towards their mortgages or other borrowings to do so. However, as we now begin to return to normality, a more tailored approach utilising a range of other measures offered on a ?business as usual? basis - including the option of a payment deferral - may be more suitable for those customers experiencing financial difficulties.

Whatever the future holds, the financial services industry stands ready to support customers who remain in financial difficulty and have a range of tools to support them. We would encourage customers to engage with their lender to ensure the right solution. Each customer will face a unique set of circumstances. But no matter what their situation, if a customer is facing temporary financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry's support is still available to help them through these challenging times.

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