Coronavirus: RBS to allow customers to defer mortgage payments

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Taxpayer-owned bank RBS will allow borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak to defer mortgage and loan repayments for up to three months.

The bank, which runs the RBS, NatWest, and Ulster Bank brands, also said savers could close fixed savings accounts early with no charge.

This is designed to allow people to access cash if they need it as the impact of the virus is felt.

Extra support for businesses was announced by the bank on Monday.

Other support for individuals facing financial difficulties owing to the virus includes:

  • Refunds on credit card cash advance fees
  • The option of applying for an temporarily increased credit card borrowing limit
  • Asking for an increased cash withdrawal limit of up to £500

A spokesman for RBS said: “We are monitoring the potential impact of coronavirus across all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption.

“We also have operational resilience plans in place that reflect guidance from Public Health Authorities to ensure we can continue to serve our customers.”

Changes to mortgage agreements in some way mirror the situation in Italy, one of the areas most affected by the outbreak.

With significant restrictions on the population in place, Laura Castelli, Italy’s deputy economy minister, said mortgage payments would be suspended across Italy.

Lending to businesses

RBS said on Monday that it was offering more flexibility over loans to businesses.

Other banks are following suit. Barclays said it was offering 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25,000, and would also offer extended or new overdraft facilities to business customers.

“Our network of relationship managers has been reaching out to SMEs across the UK to see if they require additional support during this time, as we do regularly when we see any events which may have an impact on our clients,” said Ian Rand, chief executive of Barclays Business Banking.

“Barclays is ready to help, whether that’s with managing cash-flow or any other support, and we encourage any customer who needs guidance to call us or contact their relationship manager.

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