Financial Conduct Authority
FCA announces support for customers who are struggling to pay their mortgage due to coronavirus
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced proposals which will continue support for customers who are struggling to pay their mortgage due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
The proposal outlines the options firms will be required to provide customers coming to an end of a payment holiday, as well as those who are yet to request one. For customers yet to request a payment holiday, the time to apply for one would be extended until 31 October 2020. For those who are still experiencing temporary payment difficulties due to coronavirus, firms should continue to offer support, which could include extending a payment holiday by a further three months.
Christopher Woolard, Interim Chief Executive at the FCA, said: 'Our expectations are clear – anyone who continues to need help should get help from their lender. We expect firms to work with customers on the best options available for them, paying particular attention to the needs of their vulnerable customers, and to provide information on where to access help and advice.
'Where consumers can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so. But where they can’t, a range of further support will be available. People who are struggling and have not had a payment holiday, will continue to be able to apply until 31 October.'
If the proposals are confirmed, the FCA would expect:
- Customers who can afford to return to full repayment should do so in their best interests - at the end of a payment holiday, firms should contact their customers to find out if they can resume payments and if so, agree a plan on how the missed payments will be repaid.
- Anyone who continues to need help gets help - lenders should continue to support customers who have already had a payment holiday where they need further help. Firms are expected to engage with their customers and find out what they can re-pay and, for those who remain in temporary financial difficulty, offer further support. As part of this firms should consider a further three-month payment holiday.
- Extending the time the scheme is available to people who may be impacted at a later date – customers that have not yet had a payment holiday and experiencing financial difficulty will be able to request one until 31 October 2020.
- Keeping a roof over people’s head during a public health crisis – the current ban on repossessions of homes will be continued to 31 October 2020. This will ensure people are able to comply with the government’s policy to self-isolate if they need to.
- Payment holidays and partial payment holidays offered under this guidance should not have a negative impact on credit files. However, consumers should remember that credit files aren’t the only source of information which lenders can use to assess creditworthiness.
This guidance would not prevent firms from providing more favourable forms of assistance to the customer, such as reducing or waiving interest.
Firms should consider signposting customers towards sources of debt advice. Debt advice may be helpful for customers coming to the end of payment holidays and may be particularly useful for consumers with pre-existing payment shortfalls or who are likely to be in longer-term financial difficulty.
When implementing this guidance, firms should be particularly aware of the needs of their vulnerable customers and consider how they engage with them. For customers who aren’t able to use online services (such as digital channels), firms should make it easy for customers to access alternatives.
The FCA welcomes comments on these proposals until 5pm on Tuesday 26 May and expects to finalise the guidance shortly afterwards.
This guidance only applies to mortgages. It does not apply to consumer credit products which are covered by separate guidance which will be updated in due course.
Notes to editors
- The Treasury's press release: Help with mortgages to continue for homeowners affected by coronavirus(link is external)
- Mortgages and coronavirus: updated draft guidance for firms
- Mortgages and coronavirus: information for consumers
- Mortgages and coronavirus: our guidance for firms
- Draft information for consumers: dealing with financial difficulties during coronavirus
Latest News from
Financial Conduct Authority
FCA acts to strengthen protections for customers using payment firms26/05/2020 14:10:00
The FCA recently (22 May 2020) launched a consultation on additional guidance for payments firms to strengthen the way in which they look after customers’ money.
FCA confirms measures to help insurance customers who may be suffering financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus15/05/2020 12:20:00
The FCA has confirmed a series of temporary measures to help customers who hold insurance and premium finance products and who may be in financial difficulty because of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum launches Grid to help financial firms’ planning07/05/2020 13:20:00
The Financial Services Regulatory Initiatives Forum has today launched a new initiative to help financial firms prepare for upcoming regulatory work - the Regulatory Initiatives Grid.
FCA secures orders for victims of unauthorised share scheme06/05/2020 16:20:00
The High Court today ordered four individuals and one company to pay nearly £3.62m in restitution to members of the public who bought shares that were promoted unlawfully.
FCA seeks legal clarity on business interruption insurance alongside package of measures to help consumers and small businesses01/05/2020 16:10:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced it intends to seek legal clarity on business interruption (BI) insurance to resolve doubt for businesses who are facing uncertainty on their claims.
FCA commences civil proceedings in relation to alleged unauthorised investment advisers28/04/2020 12:25:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has commenced proceedings in the High Court against 24HR Trading Academy Ltd (24HTA) and its sole director, Mohammed Fuaath Haja Maideen Maricar.
FCA confirms support for motor finance and high-cost credit customers27/04/2020 15:48:00
The FCA will be introducing the package of measures outlined last week to support consumer credit customers facing payment difficulties due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
FCA publishes PPI complaints deadline final report27/04/2020 12:25:00
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently (24 April 2020) published its final report on the impact of the deadline for PPI complaints. The report highlights the outcome of the communications campaign which ran for two years.