UK banks join Italy’s in suspending mortgage payments

Yesterday, we learned that Italy has suspended mortgage repayments amid the coronavirus crisis:

Italy’s deputy finance minister has said the government will suspend mortgage payments and other household bills across the entire country during the coronavirus outbreak.

Laura Castelli, part of the Five Star Movement side of Italy’s coalition government, said in an interview with Italian state radio that the government had been working with the country’s banks in recent days to prepare for the suspension.

The measures will halt payments for tax bills and interest payments for small companies and individuals during the crisis. She did not specify how long the suspension would last.

Now, UK’s banking system has joined the fold, implementing a three month mortgage repayment holiday, alongside offering assistance to businesses:

UK banks including Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and TSB are to offer repayment holidays on mortgages and loans, as part of relief measures for customers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The moves are part of efforts by UK banks to stem a potential tide of defaults if customers become ill, have to self-isolate or lose pay from employers and clients as the virus continues to spread…

A number of British banks have already signed off emergency loans for business customers in recent weeks, but fresh measures covering individual borrowers shows lenders are ramping up their contingency plans as the number of UK infections rises.

It’s only a matter of time before Australia’s property lobby demands similar action here. Anything to protect the bubble.

Leith van Onselen
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