"It is interesting to see the regulator setting out a firm expectation that it does not expect a blanket extension of payment holidays to be the right answer generally for people who cannot afford their payments."
The FCA has today issued a call for input into how lenders should handle ongoing payment difficulties among people who have taken coronavirus payment holidays, but are unable to resume their payments in full when the deferral period expires.
The FCA recently confirmed that its temporary guidance would remain in effect until 31 October 2020, but noted that borrowers who have been given a second payment holiday will have deferrals that end from September onwards.
The regulator is now seeking early views on the support needed by consumers who have already benefitted from temporary payment deferrals but remain in difficulty.
It is also seeking views on whether any aspect of its current guidance should continue beyond 31st October and, if not, what if anything should take its place.
Respondents respond to this Call for Input by emailing FCAconsumercredit@fca.org.uk by the 7th of August.
If responses show that further guidance is needed, the FCA aims to publish draft guidance mortgage guidance in late August and final guidance published in early September.
Richard Lane, director of external affairs at StepChange, commented: “As the FCA recognises, the picture of who will need further help and what kind of help they will need is complex. The demand for debt advice will increase as more people roll off the temporary payment deferral schemes and see their financial difficulties crystallise. It is interesting to see the regulator setting out a firm expectation that it does not expect a blanket extension of payment holidays to be the right answer generally for people who cannot afford their payments. Instead, the FCA expects lenders to show a more considered view of forbearance – with all that that implies, in the form of putting in place affordable repayment plans for those who need them.
“We are working hard to ensure that we are fully equipped to provide customers who find themselves in this situation with the right range of guidance and solutions to support them. We are thinking especially hard about those customers who may need only a relatively short-term period of recovery, but who cannot afford to resume full payments straight away, and we are putting in place brand new ways of helping, so that we are able to support them in the most suitable way when the time comes.”