Please see the below update Kevan has received from Santander regarding support they are providing to their customers:
As we work together to contain the spread of COVID-19, many of your constituents will be looking to Santander to help them through this difficult period. I wanted to take the time to explain what we are doing to support our customers and provide you with a point of contact at Santander should you need further information or assistance.
First of all, our branches and contact centres, all of which are based here in the UK, provide an essential service and I would like to reassure you that we are working hard to keep as many of these open and fully staffed as possible.
As I am sure you will understand, in order to protect our colleagues and to help with the national effort to slow the spread of the virus, a number of our more vulnerable colleagues are being advised to stay at home and others are self-isolating. This means we have a substantially reduced workforce which is significantly limiting our ability to operate at normal levels. As a result of this we have had to temporarily close some branches, reduce our opening hours and we have longer wait times than usual when trying to speak to someone on the phone.
Under these extraordinary circumstances, our priority is to protect our branches and contact centres for vulnerable customers and those most in need, and so we would ask that customers only call us if absolutely necessary. We have a dedicated webpage where customers will be able to find a range of information, as well as access to our online chat service.
Our focus remains on the well-being of our employees and our customers and supporting the wider community, and we are fortunate to have such dedicated colleagues who are tirelessly working to support customers during this difficult time.
Over the past two weeks, we have introduced a series of measures to support customers, including those who are worried about their finances in light of the ongoing situation. For personal customers, these include:
- Payment holiday: Mortgage payment holidays of up to three months are available and can be applied for through a simple online form
- Borrowing: Increased overdrafts or credit card limits may be available to customers
- Access to savings: Customers can access money held in fixed rate bonds and fixed rate ISAs before the end of the fixed term, free of charge
- Contactless payments: From 1 April, in coordination with other banks and the retail industry, we will increase the maximum payment for a contactless card from £30 to £45 to allow more purchases to be made without the need for physical contact.
- ATMs: We are working to make sure our cash machines are fully stocked
- Hold on repossessions: We have suspended all possession orders for a three-month period
We are continuing to explore further options to help our customers and we will keep our website and social media up to date with the latest information.
We have also set up a dedicated helpline for those who urgently need help (0800 01 56 382) but would please ask that customers only use this number if they need emergency support to allow those who most need the help to receive it. Lines are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-4pm.
We have announced a number of options to address the needs of individual business customers, including access to capital repayment holidays and additional liquidity across overdrafts, working capital, trade finance and loan facilities. We are also participating in the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme. More details can be found online.
I have attached a flyer which outlines some headline advice for customers which you can pass on to constituents where suitable. I hope this is helpful.
CEO, Retail and Business Banking