Following its proposal published on 22nd May, the FCA has today (2nd June 2020) confirmed its new guidance for firms on how to deal with mortgage customers who are struggling financially as a result of Covid-19. The guidance will come in to force on 4th June.
- Customers that have not yet had a payment holiday and who experience financial difficulty now have until 31 October 2020 to request one.
- The ban on lender repossessions of homes will continue to 31 October 2020.
- Firms need to communicate with customers regarding what happens when their payment holiday ends. They should offer a range of options for how the missed payments will be repaid, if the customer is able to start repaying.
- Lenders will continue to support customers who have already had a payment holiday if they need further assistance. Firms should contact their customers to find out what they can re-pay and, for those who remain in temporary financial difficulty, offer further support, which will include the option of a further three-month full or part payment holiday.
- Payment holidays will not have a negative impact on credit files.
- Depending on the customer’s circumstances, firms may make customers aware of sources of debt advice and self-help steps a customer may take. This will be for anyone concerned about managing their money during the pandemic who is looking to get their fiances back in order.
- As always firms should be particularly aware of the needs of their vulnerable customers. This includes offering alternative channels for those customers who are unable to use online services (such as digital channels).