Relief for borrowers as banks and building societies sign up to Government mortgage charter
Around 85 per cent of lenders operating in the UK’s mortgage market have signed a government charter agreeing to support borrowers.
The charter was published yesterday, following the Chancellor’s meeting with lenders on Friday to discuss the impact of rising mortgage rates on homeowners.
The agreements include allowing borrowers to contact their lender for help without impacting their credit file and enabling borrowers who are up to date with payments to switch to a new mortgage when their fixed term ends without another affordability check. The ability to switch without an affordability check will take effect from 10 July and will be available six months before a borrower’s fixed term period expires. They can also request a better like for like deal before their term ends if one becomes available.
Lenders have also agreed to time information so borrowers can plan ahead before their rate ends, and offer support to those struggling financially. This may include extending their mortgage term to reduce payments, switching to an interest-only payment structure, or temporarily deferring payments.
From today, lenders have promised that borrowers will not be evicted from their homes without their consent in less than a year from their first missed payment. This does not include “exceptional circumstances”.
Changes will be made to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) rulebook to reflect this, and an update on the progress made will be announced by 30 June.
Who’s signed up?
The lenders that have signed up to the charter are:
- Natwest, including RBS and Ulster Bank
- Lloyds, including Halifax and Scottish Widows
- Nationwide Building Society
- HSBC, including First Direct
- Virgin Money, including Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank
- Scottish Building Society
- Buckinghamshire Building Society
- Newcastle Building Society
- Hinkley and Rugby Building Society
- Nottingham Building Society
- Principality Building Society
- Suffolk Building Society
- West Bromwich Building Society
- Loughborough Building Society
- Family Building Society
- Coventry Building Society
- Yorkshire Building Society
- Skipton Building Society
- Leeds Building Society
- Bath Building Society
- Ecology Building Society
- The Vernon Building Society
- Leek Building Society
- Furness Building Society
- Melton Mowbray Building Society
- Glasgow Credit Union
- Darlington Building Society
- Progressive Building Society
‘An anxious time for mortgage customers’
David Postings, CEO of UK Finance, said: “Lenders recognise and understand this is an anxious time for mortgage customers and there is a lot of support available. Lenders have been contacting and supporting millions of customers and are working with the government and regulators to continue to deliver a range of support options for customers. Anyone who is worried about their finances should contact their lender to find out what options are available to help. Contacting your lender to talk about the options available will not impact your credit score.”
Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, added: “This charter builds on the work we and lenders have done over recent years to ensure those who get into difficulty receive the support they need. The additional commitments from signatories provide customers with clarity and certainty on how they can expect to be treated.
“Mortgages remain a priority for the FCA, and we will continue to work closely with lenders to ensure borrowers are supported, as part of our work on consumers who might face financial difficulties.”
‘We give our full backing’
Richard Fearon, chief executive of Leeds Building Society, said: “We are a purpose-led organisation putting homeownership within reach of more people and it is vital that our actions match our words when our members need us most.
“We give our full backing to this charter. It will give borrowers facing financial difficulty even more reassurance that we’ll stand by them.”
Sue Hayes, chief executive of The Nottingham, added: “This is a worrying time for many borrowers as the impact of successive base rate rises has put increasing pressure on household finances. We want to do everything we can to support customers through this period.
“Our customers are always central to our thinking, and coming together with other banks and building societies at this time to make this commitment will ensure we can continue to meet their needs.”