15th September 2020

FCA confirms the next stage of support for mortgage borrowers
Trend

The Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) has confirmed the support mortgage borrowers will receive if they continue to face payment difficulties due to coronavirus.
The FCA has published additional guidance for firms, to ensure that consumers who have benefitted from payment deferrals under the current guidance who still face financial difficulties, as well as those whose financial situation may be newly affected by coronavirus after the current guidance ends, continue to get the support they need.

The measures mean firms will offer further short and longer-term support reflecting the circumstances of their customers. This could include extending the repayment term or restructuring of the mortgage. Where consumers need further short-term support, firms can continue to offer arrangements for no or reduced payments for a specified period to give customers time to get back on track. This additional guidance will come into force tomorrow.

Christopher Woolard, Interim Chief Executive at the FCA, comments “Some consumers will continue to be impacted by coronavirus in the coming months, or be impacted for the first time. Consumers in these situations will benefit from firms providing them with tailored support.
However, it is very important that consumers who can afford to resume mortgage payments should do so for their own long-term interests and so that help can be targeted at those most in need.”

Under the guidance published yesterday, firms will prioritise support for borrowers who are at most risk of harm, or who face the greatest financial difficulties. The new guidance reinforces the need for firms to deliver outcomes that are right for individual borrowers rather than adopting “one size fits all” solutions. The FCA will be monitoring firms to ensure borrowers are treated fairly having regard to their individual circumstances.

Firms will also signpost borrowers to the support they need in managing their finances, including through self-help and money guidance, or refer borrowers to organisations that can provide free debt advice if this meets their needs and circumstances.
Where borrowers have taken, or are taking, payment deferrals under our existing guidance and require further support from lenders, these further arrangements can be reflected on credit files in accordance with normal reporting processes.

This also applies to borrowers newly affected by coronavirus who receive support from their lender after 31st October. This will help to ensure that lenders have an accurate picture of consumers’ financial circumstances and reduce the risk of unaffordable lending. Firms are required to be clear about the credit file implications of any forms of support offered to borrowers.

The FCA’s current guidance published in June will continue to provide support for those impacted by coronavirus until 31st October 2020–with consumers able to take a first or second three-month payment deferral until this date. The June guidance is due to expire on 31st October andthe FCAe do not intend to extend this guidance. The guidance published ensures consumers will still be able to obtain the support they need from their lenders after their payment holiday ends or they are newly affected by coronavirus after 31st October. However, the FCA will keep the guidance under review and if circumstances change significantly, consideration will be given to any further measures that may be needed to support consumers during the ongoing pandemic.

FCA Trends(350 articles)