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FCA adjusts Coronavirus-related measures

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 1 February 2021

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The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has updated its guidelines to allow firms to repossess HNWs' goods and vehicles from now on. These guidelines say that they should only do so as a last resort, while always observing the relevant public health guidelines and regulations to do with social distancing and shielding.

The FCA also states that private banks have to consider the effect that these repossessions might have on vulnerable customers, especially in view of the depredations of the pandemic, when deciding whether to go ahead.

Meanwhile, HNWs are experiencing financial difficulties because of the Coronavirus along with the rest. The FCA writes that they have until 31 March to apply for "payment holidays" for: mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, store cards and catalogue credit, motor finance, including hire-purchase and leasing agreements, rent-to-own, buy now pay later, pawnbroking agreements and high-cost short-term credit. During such times, to be agreed with lenders, HNWs are to make no (or smaller-than-usual) payments.

It adds: "You can request a payment holiday of up to 6 months in total, but lenders can only agree a payment holiday of up to 3 months at a time. For high-cost short-term credit, you can apply for a 1 month payment holiday. If you apply by 31 March, you may be able to extend up to 31 July when all payment holidays will come to an end. If you’ve taken a payment holiday your lender will be in touch before it ends to see if you need more help."

The FCA expresses its approval and support for any financial staff (such as relationship managers) who are still doing front-line work.

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