"While it remains too early to reliably estimate the full impact of Covid-19, we expect the remainder of 2020 and possibly 2021 to be challenging for most businesses."
Together has announced plans to reduce colleague numbers by around 200 amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Together said: "While we are cautiously increasing lending volumes it is unlikely we will resume our pre-Covid-19 activity levels for some time. To ensure that our cost base remains appropriate, we have launched an employee consultation process on proposals to reduce colleague numbers by around 200 reflecting the anticipated future shape of our business.
"The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact on economies across the globe and has created significant uncertainty around the nature and extent of any downturn. Many economists are predicting a deep and sustained global recession and, combined with the planned exit from the government's furlough and mortgage payment deferral schemes at the end of October 2020, this is expected to have an impact on property activity, unemployment and economic growth within the UK."
Following the start of the UK-wide lockdown on 23rd March, Together temporarily paused accepting new loan applications. It has since funded a total of around £90m of lending from its revised pipeline and says it will "continue to prudently increase lending in line with tighter criteria and a reassessment of customer circumstances".
On 16th July, Together priced the latest and largest issuance in its residential mortgage backed securitisation (RMBS) programme, the £370m Together Asset Backed Securitisation 2020. On completion of the transaction, Together's facility headroom is expected to increase to around £770m.
Together also announced that mortgage payment deferrals peaked at around 22% of its customers during lockdown. This level has since reduced to around 16% as at 16th July 2020. Together says early responses indicate that around 70% of those customers expect to return to making full or partial payments when their deferral period ends.
Gerald Grimes, Group CEO Designate of Together, commented: "While it remains too early to reliably estimate the full impact of Covid-19, we expect the remainder of 2020 and possibly 2021 to be challenging for most businesses. Together entered the pandemic in a strong position and, as we move out of lockdown, we are taking the necessary steps to shape our business for the future: putting plans in place to mitigate any downside risks; ensuring our cost base is appropriate; and accelerating our transformation programmes to make us more efficient and further improve the experience for our customers. With the actions we are taking, we believe Together will emerge from the crisis well placed to support our customers and to play our part in supporting the UK's economic recovery."