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NatWest stops new lending to European customers without confirmed settlement status

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
NatWest has stopped new lending to European Union (EU) customers who are yet to receive a settlement status to reside in the UK, in an update to its lending policy.

Any EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens living in the UK who apply for new lending from 1 January must provide evidence of their confirmed settlement status or indefinite leave to remain at the time of application.

This will include settled citizens who have lived in the UK for more than five years and have an indefinite leave to remain, as well as those with pre-settled status and will be able to apply for settled status once they have resided here for five continuous years.

Borrowers will not be able to apply for a mortgage or new lending until they have a document stating their settled or pre-settled status, unless another party on the mortgage has a permanent right to reside, EU settlement status or is an Irish citizen.

NatWest said this was because after 30 June, a customer without settlement status could lose their right to reside in the UK if they have not applied to remain under the EU settlement scheme.

Such customers have until 30 June to apply for settlement and applications are being processed in five days.

Brokers must include a copy of the customer’s settled or pre-settled decision letter as part of application packaging.

Latest government statistics revealed that as of 30 September 2020, 3.88 million applications had been made, with 2.17 million granted settled status and 1.61 million granted pre-settled status. ‘Other outcomes’ made up 2%, including refused application, withdrawn, void or invalid applications.

Points-based immigration

Anyone who entered the UK after 31 December and is not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme will have to comply with the new points-based immigration system and apply for a visa. 

NatWest will then make its decision to lend to these customers on whether their visa meets its foreign national policy.

Borrowers who applied for mortgages before 31 December will be treated as though they have the permanent right to reside, in line with UK policy before the nation’s departure from the EU.

NatWest is the latest lender to update its practices following Brexit. 

Saffron Building Society has stopped buy-to-let lending to EEA nationals with immediate effect but will honour fully submitted applications in its pipeline.

The mutual will still lend to those from non-EEA countries.

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