Patricio Remon, President of Europe at Equifax, comments on the FCA temporary financial relief for customers impacted by coronavirus: “The FCA proposals will have a welcome impact on the lives of consumers in financial difficulty and should provide clarity for lenders and credit providers. We have worked closely with other credit reference agencies and developed reporting guidelines to help minimise any adverse effects on UK consumers’ credit files when lenders agree to an emergency payment freeze. The principles of the current CRA guidance were already designed to cover a range of portfolios including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans. Lenders who follow the principles of this reporting guidance should help minimise the impact of an emergency payment freeze on a consumer’s credit file.”
Looking beyond the here and now
“The next important consideration is how lenders should treat consumers when the emergency payment freeze ends. A consumer that had an up-to-date payment status prior to being granted an emergency payment freeze should not see their payment status worsen when they exit from the emergency payment freeze. If a consumer is able to resume their normal contractual monthly payments, and pay each month when due, their payment status should continue to be reported as up-to-date moving forward.
“This is something that Equifax are encouraging lenders, trade associations and regulators to look at. Equifax will continue to work with regulators, lenders and other credit reference agencies to deliver the most appropriate customer outcomes in this unprecedented time.”
Any consumer who is experiencing financial difficulties that will impact their ability to make a payment must contact their lender or credit provider to discuss the support available.