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UK extends mortgage holiday three months

Borrowers in difficulty get extra time but Treasury encourages others to resume payments.

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5/22/20, 11:46 AM CET

Updated 5/22/20, 1:31 PM CET

The U.K. Treasury instructed banks Friday to extend mortgage holidays for another three months for people still struggling with the impact of the coronavirus.

Banks should contact existing beneficiaries to give them a chance to extend the payment suspensions put in place since March, which are due to begin expiring in June.

For borrowers who can resume payments, “it is in their best interest to do so,” the Treasury said.

Lenders will keep the window of applications open for customers to request deferrals until October 31, under related guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA extended its ban on home repossessions until then.

“Anyone who continues to need help gets help,” the regulator said.

Nonpayment of a mortgage under a moratorium is not to be treated as a bad loan, the Bank of England said, reiterating its March guidance on the application of capital, provisioning and accounting rules.

Banks should revise payment schedules according to how much a borrower can afford to pay. For those unable to resume full payments on those terms, banks should distinguish between those temporary cash shortfalls versus people facing longer-term trouble, such as permanent loss of a job.

Lenders would then take a “proportionate approach” to assessing the likelihood of repayment, considering the underlying reasons for the financial distress. The BoE said this can be done “without detailed quantitative analysis.”

“Firms are reminded to apply sound risk management practices regarding the identification of defaults,” the central bank added Friday to extend mortgage holidays for another three months for people still struggling with the impact of the coronavirus.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Financial Services. From the eurozone, banking union, CMU, and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the Financial Services policy agenda. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.

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