Barclays have informed me of additional measures put in place immediately to support customers during the pandemic:
- All arranged overdrafts for personal customers are now interest free until 30 April.
- Mortgage repayment holidays can now be applied for online using a form on a dedicated web-page: https://www.barclays.co.uk/coronavirus/mortgages/
- They have waived the requirement for personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000 under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
- Put in place arrangements to prioritise NHS Workers, starting with branch services.
These measures are new this week and build on the measures already in place.
Please be aware that, due to staffing pressures, there will be some changes to opening hours or temporary closures for some branches. Right now the vast majority of branches remain open.
Lloyds have informed me of the following measures put in place to support customers during the pandemic:
- From 6 April personal banking customers will be able to access a £300 overdraft, interest-free.
- From 1 April, the contactless payment limit for all customers will increase from £30 to £45. Customers using mobile devices (such as Apple Pay) can make secure contactless payments above this limit at many retailers.
- Lloyds are offering customers with personal loans a payment holiday. More than 30,000 customers have already taken up this offer. Similarly, there will be no missed payment fees for customers with loans, as well as credit cards and motor finance, for three months.
Mortgage customers at Lloyds:
A payment holiday of up to three months for personal mortgage customers if their household income has been affected. In just over a week, more than 70,000 homeowners have successfully applied for one. This means they will temporarily stop paying all or part of their monthly mortgage payment, which will be added onto their mortgage balance and repaid over the course of the remaining mortgage term. Lloyds are also waiving any missed payment fees for mortgage customers for three months.
Anyone in the process of trying to buy a new home who has an existing mortgage offer with Lloyds will be granted an additional three months to complete their home purchase at the agreed rate.
The Bank of England base rate reductions totalling 0.65% will be passed on in full to mortgage customers of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, helping to reduce their monthly household outgoings.
Support for personal customers
We can reduce or defer mortgage payments, temporarily increase credit card and overdraft limits, and allow early access to fixed-rate savings accounts without charges. We have passed on the base rate cut to variable rate mortgage customers. From 26 March, we are introducing a temporary £300 interest-free buffer on overdrafts for a period of three months.
Support for business customers
We have allocated £5bn for SMEs that need support, £3bn for businesses that trade internationally, and removed the £100 fee for Small Business Loans. We will consider repayment holidays, changing terms on overdrafts or trade loans, and providing guarantees to support customer supply chains.
As you will be aware, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide loans of up to £5m to firms that cannot seek finance in the normal way. HSBC UK will waive all arrangement and prepayment fees and will not seek personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000. Implementing a new scheme at speed creates challenges, but we are endeavouring to work through them as quickly as possible. CBILS applications must go through a credit assessment process, and be eligible under British Business Bank rules.
For companies involved in the supply and manufacture of ventilators, HSBC UK will offer preferential pricing, extended repayment terms on loans and fast track approval times to support the unprecedented demand on UK hospitals.
Impact on HSBC’s transformation programme
Due to the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, HSBC Group have decided to pause the vast majority of redundancies associated with the transformation programme where notices have not already been issued. We will also pause most of our external recruitment.
Additional support to tackle Coronavirus
HSBC is making $25m available worldwide to support the international medical response, protect vulnerable people and ensure food security. This week we have pledged an initial £1m to the Red Cross and National Emergency Trust Coronavirus Appeal in the UK.
Branches and contact centres
We are doing our best to keep as many branches open as possible, but during this difficult time, all branches will be closed at the weekend and many are on reduced hours. In line with public health advice, we have implemented social distancing measures across the network. Most everyday banking needs can be managed via our mobile and online services. Our telephone contact centre (0345 740 4404) is open from 08:00 to 20:00, except for lost and stolen cards, which is open 24/7. We are receiving far more calls than usual, so wait times are likely to be longer.