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Banks to offer overdraft and mortgage help to affected coronavirus customers

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Banks, building societies and credit card providers are ready to relax their rules and offer greater flexibility to customers impacted by COVID-19, it has been confirmed.

Given the rise of coronavirus cases in the UK and the government’s emergency plans to help contain its spread, lenders have announced they’re ready to help customers when it comes to their finances.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of trade association, UK Finance, said: “Banks, building societies and credit card providers understand that some of their customers may be worried about the effect that contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on their finances, for example due to a drop in income or because of unexpected expenses or bills to pay.

“All providers are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19, which could include offering or increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments: asking for help early is key.

“We would encourage customers who think they may be affected to contact their provider as soon as possible to discuss the support available to them.”

Just yesterday prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed people who self-isolate will receive statutory sick pay (£94.25/week) from the first day they are off work – rather than the fourth – under emergency coronavirus plans.

He said: “Nobody should be penalised for doing the right thing.”

The city regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England are also reviewing the plans financial firms have in place to deal with a widespread outbreak of the virus.

They said all businesses should have plans in place to deal with major events such as the spread of the infection and should be assessing operation risk as well as firms’ ability to continue to operate while supporting customers.

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