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Coronavirus: Banks and building societies may offer ill customers payment breaks

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Ulster Bank has announced it will help customers who lose money because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ulster Bank has announced it will help customers who lose money because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Alex Dodd

Ulster Bank has announced it will help customers who lose money because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ulster Bank has announced it will help customers who lose money because of the coronavirus outbreak.

RBS, the bank's parent company and the owner of Natwest, could offer loan and mortgage repayment deferrals for up to three months.

Self-employed people forced to take time off work after catching the infection, or people who have to self-isolate because of increased risk, are at risk of losing out on income.

A spokesman for Ulster Bank said the bank was monitoring the impact of the virus on customers "to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption".

He added: "We have a strong track record in working with any customers who are affected by disruption outside of their control."

The bank said it understood there could be circumstances where a personal banking customer could fall into financial difficulties such as a loss of income because of the effects of coronavirus.

The spokesman added: "We will look to understand each customer's situation on a case-by-case basis.

"(We) can offer a number of options to help them manage their finances.

"We would encourage any customer experiencing financial difficulty to get in touch with us."

While there is no single blanket provision, the help that customers could be offered if their finances are in difficulty includes requesting mortgage and loan repayment deferrals for up to three months.

Building society Santander, a major mortgage lender in Northern Ireland, also said it would look at each customer's situation and explore ways to support them depending on their specific circumstances.

The group's support for customers includes the option to potentially defer or reduce repayments.

A Santander spokeswoman said: "Santander has a team of experts on hand to support customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus.

"Anyone who has been affected can talk to us now on 0800 9 123 123."

Nationwide Building Society said it may consider short-term support including mortgage payment holidays, increased credit card or overdraft limits, penalty-free early access to savings in fixed-term accounts and the removal of interest charges on credit cards and overdrafts.

Lloyds Banking Group said there could be payment holidays on mortgages and loans for Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and MBNA customers.

Emergency access to fixed-term savings products will also be allowed and fees may not be charged for missed payments on credit cards, loans and mortgages.

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