The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed support for mortgage borrowers if they continue to face payment difficulties as a result of the coronavirus.
The regulator published finalised guidance today (September 14) to ensure support for consumers who have taken payment deferrals and still face financial difficulties, and those whose financial situation may be newly affected by the pandemic after October 31.
Under the FCA’s current guidance, borrowers can take a first or second payment deferral, which does not have a negative impact on the borrower’s credit file.
But under additional guidance published today, and which comes into effect on Wednesday, any further support from lenders can be reflected on credit files.
But firms are required to be “clear” about the credit file implications of any support offered.
Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive at the FCA, said: “Some consumers will continue to be impacted by coronavirus in the coming months, or be impacted for the first time. Consumers in these situations will benefit from firms providing them with tailored support.
“However, it is very important that consumers who can afford to resume mortgage payments should do so for their own long-term interests and so that help can be targeted at those most in need.”
Under the measures firms will offer additional support, such as extending the repayment term or offering arrangements for no, or reduced, payments for a period.
They will also signpost borrowers to the necessary support in managing their finances, such as self-help, money guidance or to organisations that can provide free debt advice, if appropriate.
Support will be prioritised for borrowers at “most risk of harm” or who face the “greatest financial difficulties”, according to the regulator.
The FCA added that it will be monitoring firms to ensure borrowers are treated fairly with regard to their individual circumstances.
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