To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the protection from adverse entries on credit reference agency files for people who have taken mortgage holidays to beyond 31 October 2020.
Following the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government worked quickly with lenders and financial regulators to give people access to payment holidays on their mortgages. This gives customers a much-needed respite period, where no repayments on these products are due. It was necessary to bring this temporary measure in, in order to give customers time to smooth out their finances that may have taken a hit by the pandemic. We were clear from the start, that anyone taking one of these payment holidays should not suffer a worsening arrears status.
The FCA published guidance on mortgage payment holidays on 14 September setting out that firms should continue to provide support through tailored forbearance options for those borrowers that are facing ongoing financial difficulties. This could include granting new mortgage payment holidays. As part of this guidance any forbearance granted beyond 31 October will be reflected on the consumer’s credit file in the usual manner. As borrowers still requiring assistance after 31 October could be in serious financial distress the FCA believe it is right that lenders are able to understand their financial position in order to lend responsibly.