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Press Room

1 December 2008

Peace of mind for homeowners as NatWest and RBS commit to six month grace period for customers falling into mortgage arrears

  • Bank pledges not to initiate repossession proceedings for a full six months after customer first falls into arrears
  • Further commitment that customers are given the opportunity to seek advice from independent money advice organisations before any steps taken
  • Pledge to remain in place until at least the end of 2009

NatWest and RBS have today given homeowners a much-needed financial breathing space with a firm commitment not to start repossession proceedings for a full six months after a customer first falls into arrears. The Bank has given a guarantee that will help lift the pressure on those homeowners struggling to meet their monthly repayments and give them more time to talk and work with the Bank and gain the support and advice they need.

The Bank already works with each customer to understand their specific circumstances and to determine which options may best help their specific situation, including payment holidays, extended terms and reduced payments. We have also trained our frontline staff to provide helpful and practical money management advice, including the active promotion of our acclaimed MoneySense initiative.

Announcing the move, Craig Donaldson, MD Retail Banking, said: "We fully understand that one of the biggest worries facing homeowners in financial difficulty is the thought of losing their home, this is especially true given the current economic climate. We hope that our commitment will reassure our customers that we are committed to providing them with enough time, professional support and the assistance they need to resolve their financial difficulties."

"Our policy has always been to encourage those customers facing financial difficulty to talk to us so that we can work together, understand their individual circumstances and jointly resolve their financial problems. The repossession route is always a last resort and one where all other reasonable attempts to resolve the position have failed and one that we look to avoid where at all possible."

The Bank is also making a commitment to ensure that a customer has had the opportunity to seek advice from independent organisations such as CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service) or CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) before any repossession actions begin. RBS is the largest corporate supporter of the free, independent money advice sector.