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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt urges banks to help struggling mortgage customers

Victoria Hartley
Written By:
Victoria Hartley

The chancellor is to call on banks to pull out all the stops to help mortgage borrowers who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Jeremy Hunt is raising the issue of rising interest rates in a session today with the big high street lenders, including Nationwide, HSBC and NatWest, according to the Guardian. Consumer campaigner Martin Lewis is also reportedly attending the event.

He has warned homeowners could be caught in the “perfect storm” of rising energy bills, inflation and interest rates.

Interim chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Richard Lloyd is also expected to be at the roundtable.

Lender must do all they can to help borrowers

The chancellor is set to tell lenders they must do everything they can to support borrowers, including offering interest-only repayments to push down bills. Many banks have been offering additional advice to help customers cope with the cost of living.

For example, Nationwide launched a cost of living helpline while trained experts are also contacting customers showing obvious signs of struggling.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, banks offered mortgage payment holidays, among other measures, to support homeowners who may have been struggling with costs.

However, payment holidays have not been so readily offered up during the cost-of-living crisis.

And many lenders have set aside extra cash to cover bad loans, which are expected to rise as repayments increase with higher interest rates.

The Treasury has been contacted for comment.