In efforts to ease the economic blow of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Europe, banks in Italy and the United Kingdom have announced that they will allow all affected individuals to defer their mortgage payments.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), in addition, will also authorize delays in loan repayments for up to three months.
“We understand that there may be circumstances where a personal customer may fall into financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of coronavirus, for instance, loss of income,” a spokesman for RBS told BBC News.
Meanwhile, UK-based Lloyds and TSB Bank said that they are also preparing to offer free closure of fixed-term savings accounts to their clients that will enable them to access cash easily.
UK Finance said that all banks have vowed to provide support to the people facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus.
Other services offered include refunds on credit card cash advance fees as well as request for increased cash withdrawal and borrowing limit.
“We would encourage customers who think they may be affected to contact their provider as soon as possible to discuss the support available to them,” said Chief Executive Stephen Jones of the UK’s banking lobby group.
In Italy, Deputy Economy Minister Laura Castelli said that mortgage payments will be suspended across the country, which is now grappling the biggest outbreak outside China.
The Italian Banking Association said financial institutions would offer debt holidays to small businesses and households while the country is placed under lockdown.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte earlier ordered for the extension of emergency measures in Italy such as travel bans and postponement of public gatherings in hopes to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
As of March 11, Italy’s death toll has reportedly jumped to 631 while its confirmed cases rose to 10,149.