HSBC Update 9 April 2020
Kevan has received a further update from HSBC which is available below:
Support for our small business customers
I am pleased to report that we have approved hundreds of loans for HSBC UK customers under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBILS), and our customers have started drawing down funds. We continue to put in place measures to reduce call wait times and increase usage, and I am confident that the steps we have taken will ensure that funds are transmitted quickly to where they are needed most. We welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement on 2nd April setting out changes to CBILS that enable businesses to access the scheme more quickly. We will refinance any lending offered since 23 March upon request to reflect the updated measures.
Details on our CBILS loan rates
We have published our loan rates under the scheme which we believe fairly and simply reflect the government guarantee, irrespective of the loan amount. These rates are 3.49% over Bank of England Base Rate for loans up to 3 years (inclusive) and 3.99% over Bank of England Base Rate for loans over 3 years, and up to 6 years. We will not require personal guarantees for loans of less than or equal to £250,000. If a personal guarantee is required when lending is greater than £250,000, it will only be taken for maximum of 10% of the loan amount. CBILS applications must still go through a credit assessment process, and be eligible under British Business Bank rules.
Support for our retail customers
We have added to our package of support for our retail customers as they tackle the financial impact of COVID-19. We have increased our interest-free overdraft buffer to £500 for millions of Bank Account and Advance Account customers, and temporarily reduced the interest rate charged over the interest-free buffer from 39.9% to 19.9%. We have suspended all late credit card payment fees for three months, and if a customer is late making a payment we will waive the fee automatically so they don’t have to contact us. Repayment holidays for mortgages, credit cards and unsecured loans are now live, and customers can use online application forms on our website to access these.
Support for vulnerable customers
Our branch teams are proactively contacting customers who they have identified as at risk from reduced access to their banking because they’re not signed up to other channels. As we continue to handle significantly higher customer call volumes, we have established a dedicated COVID-19 key worker and vulnerable customer line, which is receiving an average of 12,000 calls a day.
Branches and call centre operations
Over 90% of our branches remain open and colleagues on the ground are working tirelessly to help customers while maintaining social distancing. We have increased sanitation regimes and reduced hours (10am-2pm, Mon-Fri) in response to falling footfall and to help colleagues spend more time at home. All our contact centre colleagues are now able to work from home, bringing the total number of UK based staff able to work from home to 95%. Please note that our branches will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday to allow our staff some respite, but our contact centres and helplines will remain open as normal throughout the Easter weekend and we will have a dedicated team in place to call customers back and process CBILS loans.
Support for the community
We continue to look for ways to support our communities. We gave our March TV advertising slots to Shelter in support of an appeal for the homeless that generated £265k in donations, and we donated £1 million to the National Emergencies Trust and British Red Cross Coronavirus Appeal as part of USD25 million HSBC is donating globally. Our School Bank team have started to pilot digital lessons for kids, including treasure hunts and elements of our Fairer Tales children’s book, with the aim of rolling out the programme further in the coming weeks. From 9 April and every Thursday thereafter, we will be lighting our 1 Centenary Square Head Office in blue to show support for our NHS as the nation claps for carers.
If you would have any questions or would like further information about the measures we have in place, please get in touch and one of my team would be happy to arrange a call.
Chief Executive Officer
HSBC UK Bank plc
1 Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 1HQ, UK
HSBC Update 2 April 2020
Kevan has received an update from HSBC about the support they are providing to businesses:
Dear Member of Parliament
There has been a lot of coverage in the media about the launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which provides loans of up to £5m to firms that cannot seek finance in the normal way. I realise you may have been contacted by businesses in your constituency with questions about the initiative. I wanted to write to address some of the questions being raised and set out how HSBC UK has been working to make the scheme deliver for our customers.
HSBC UK CBILS eligibility criteria
To be eligible for a loan under the scheme, a business must be an existing HSBC UK business customer and meet the scheme rules set out by the British Business Bank. All loan applications must be assessed through our normal credit assessment process, and a business plan, including financial projections, must be obtained and fully reviewed as part of the assessment process. HSBC UK will waive all arrangement and prepayment fees and will not seek personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000.
We are working hard to ensure customers understand the scheme’s terms, including that lenders are required to assess whether customers can lend on normal criteria in the first instance. If we can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, we are required under the scheme rules to do so.
Delivering the scheme for HSBC UK business customers
Implementing a new scheme at speed, and in such uncertain times, creates challenges and we know concerns have been raised about initial delays. Since the details were finalised, HSBC UK has been working at speed to deliver for our customers. I am pleased to say that customers have started drawing down funds from the scheme and we are undertaking a number of measures to increase usage, including:
o Launching an online customer portal to streamline the application process and assess eligibility.
o Training almost 2,000 colleagues on the scheme in the first week of its operation, with additional training taking place this week.
o Establishing a dedicated Covid-19 helpline (0800 0113 317), and a team focused on supporting our smaller customers.
o Putting in place additional credit approvers to help turnaround times.
We are confident that the steps we have taken will ensure that funds are transmitted quickly to where they are needed most. However, please bear in mind that we are receiving far more calls than usual, and having to adjust for staff self-isolating, so our wait times may be longer.
Support for clients providing essential services
We are also extending our support to clients that can give immediate help to essential public services and vulnerable people.
As part of this effort we are contacting clients involved in the manufacture and supply of Personal Protective Equipment to offer preferential finance and, where possible, the direct purchase of supplies and equipment for essential public services. We will also offer similar terms to clients involved in the wholesale of food. These measures will help our customers manage their cashflow and support our communities and public services to get the food and equipment they need.
This builds on our announcement last week to provide preferential pricing and terms to clients manufacturing and supplying ventilators.
We would be very happy to arrange a call to talk you through the scheme. If this would be of interest, please let me know and me or one of my team will get in touch.
Group General Manager Head of Commercial Banking
HSBC UK Bank plc
1 Centenary Square, Birmingham, B1 1HQ, UK