This afternoon, Kevan has received an update from Natwest regarding the actions they are taking to support the economy and their customers:
I would like to give you an update on what we are doing as a purpose-led bank to support our customers and to assist you if you have any queries about the customer support measures that are available during these difficult times.
We are monitoring the impact of coronavirus on all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through this period of disruption. We are also working with governments, regulators and other banks to ensure we are doing everything we can to support our customers and the UK economy (For instance we have paid many of our suppliers early and are committing to pay them within 4 working days). We will continually review the support we are giving to make sure it is fit for purpose and we will also look to introduce new schemes where we feel our customers want/need them.
We are doing everything possible to proactively reach out to our customers, especially vulnerable customers, but any help you can give us would be much appreciated. My colleagues are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances to serve our customers and in some cases we may take slightly longer to address issues than we would like but volumes of enquiries have increased dramatically and we are working hard to meet the challenges presented to us.
Dedicated support lines
Our customers over 70 and those in isolation: We have created a dedicated support line for customers over 70 and those who are in a period of isolation. This dedicated line has been set up so we can help those most in need and is open 8am-8pm 7 days a week. Those who need it can call us on:
NatWest – 0800 051 4176
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 051 4177
Ulster NI – 0800 092 4238
NHS Workers: We have also set up an emergency customer care line for NHS workers. Our team of experts are ready to help with emergency banking support such as lending assistance and lost and stolen cards. This line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our customers:
NatWest – 0800 046 2418
Royal Bank of Scotland – 0800 0466734
Ulster NI – 0800 0466778
There may be circumstances where a personal customer may fall into financial difficulty as a result of the impacts of coronavirus. We will look to understand each customer’s situation on a case-by-case basis and can offer a number of options to help them manage their finances. We have a range of forbearance options to assist all customers in financial difficulty and have made available the following:
- Mortgage and loan repayment deferral for up to three months. This is available to both our residential and buy-to-let customers whose tenants are experiencing issues with their finances. We have also agreed a three-month moratorium on residential and buy-to-let possession action
- Customers can close fixed savings accounts to access cash with no early closure charge
- Refunds on credit card cash advance fees
- Customers can apply for increased credit card limit
- Customers can request an increased cash withdrawal limit of up to £500 (debit card)
Ways to Bank
Customers can continue to access their banking through a range of channels, including digital, mobile, ATMs, telephony, video banking, branches and the Post Office.
We’re doing everything we can to keep our services running for customers. Our branch network remains open and we’re prioritising core opening hours from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm. Aligned to the relevant public health guidance, we have reviewed our opening hours to ensure we can cater for our colleagues who are absent, many of them self-isolating. Unfortunately, due to these reasons, we have taken the difficult decision to pause our mobile branch fleet with immediate effect. We are proactively contacting our regular customers to discuss their banking needs. Customers can continue to access their banking services through our other channels including digital, mobile, ATMs, video banker, telephony and Post Office.
This is a fast-changing situation and could potentially change quickly. Our colleagues in branches and contact centres are working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances. We’re encouraging customers not to visit a branch unless it’s critical and if they do to practice safe social distancing.
We would urge customers to regularly check their local services by visiting:
- NatWest – https://locator.natwest.com/?html
- Royal Bank of Scotland – https://locator-rbs.co.uk/
- Ulster Bank – https://locator.ulsterbank.co.uk/
Access to Cash
There are several ways we can support customers’ cash needs – and we are working to develop more options too. Customers can use ATMs, Post Offices and can call us or log into the mobile app to get a ‘GetCash’ code, which can be used to withdraw cash without a card.
The impacts our customers experience will vary from sector to sector, but we are being proactive in the way we support them and we are speaking to many of them about the steps they can take and the support that’s available to them. For business customers we are:
Ensuring our customers are reassured that we are here to support with £5bn additional working capital funding for SME’s through an extension of the Growth Fund:
- Additional lending designed to support businesses adapt to a rapidly changing external environment; and,
- Availability of fee free loans.
We are taking part in relevant government schemes:
- The Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBIL) for lending up to £5m is being rolled out with a streamlined approach and, where possible, minimised requirements to ensure we can support our customers as quickly as possible; and,
- We are also supportive of the Bank of England’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) and are supporting customers who wish to apply.
Immediate measures to support cashflow and provide additional working capital:
- Up to 6-month Capital Repayment Holiday on variable rate lending;
- The granting of an overdraft or extension of existing overdraft limits;
- Customers can have immediate access, if required to surplus cash in their Treasury Reserve Deposit account.
Provision of additional advice and support to customers:
- Relationship Managers are proactively speaking to business customers offering help and support.
- Relevant and up to date information is available on the NatWest / Royal Bank of Scotland / Ulster Bank Business Hubs (see below for links)
Further information for our customers can be found on the:
- NatWest customers – NatWest Business hub
- Royal Bank of Scotland customers – Royal Bank of Scotland Business hub
- Ulster Bank – Ulster Bank Business Hub
The vast majority of our colleagues are now working from home (>40k) and we are working with governments and local authorities on planning and finding the right level of support for staff who are deemed “key workers”. We have also committed to all our staff that they will get their full pay for the next 6 months.
This is a difficult time and I want to reassure you that the bank is doing all it can to help customers and communities across the UK. We will constantly review all the actions we are taking to make sure they are having the right impact. We will also look for new ways of supporting our customers and will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, to find solutions to the problems we are all facing and to plan for the future. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.