FCA proposes financial relief for customers affected by COVID-19

Jessica Nangle

April 2, 2020

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed a range of temporary measures designed as a “stop-gap” to support users of certain consumer credit products who are facing a financial impact due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The package is intended to complement measures already implemented by the government to support mortgage holders and renters.

The assistance is also being provided for furloughed employees and the self-employed.

Given these measures would span a wide variety of firms, the FCA is conducting a brief consultation on their measures however is asking all stakeholders to respond by Monday 6 April.

If confirmed, the measures would come into force by 9 April 2020.

Proposals include a temporary payment freeze of up to three months on loans and credit cards where consumers face difficulties with their finances as a result of coronavirus and ensuring that any temporary measures would not affect a customer’s credit rating.

Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive of the FCA, said: “Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented financial shock with far-reaching consequences for consumers in every corner of the UK.

“If confirmed, this package of measures we are proposing today will help provide affected consumers with the temporary financial support they need to help them weather the storm during this challenging time.”

If confirmed, these measures will provide a short-term, temporary stop-gap, for a period of up to three months and would provide an expected minimum level of financial support for consumers who until now have been financially stable.

The FCA has said that lenders do not have to put these measures in place until they come into force, and this guidance would not prevent firms from offering more generous assistance to their customers.

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