Bank to delay repossessions by six monthsRBS gives homeowners time to sort out finances

02 December 2008

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RBS, which owns NatWest, has pledged to give customers in arrears at least six months grace before starting mortgage repossession proceedings.    

If you're concerned about your financial situation see our information on arrears and repossessions and how to deal with debt.

RBS is the first bank to announce a six month breathing space for homeowners who are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.  The pledge will remain in place until at least the end of 2009.  It has also said that it will make sure that customers have had the opportunity to seek independent debt advice before it starts legal action. 

This announcement comes days after the Government bought 58% of the banks's shares for £15 billion.  

Craig Donaldson, MD of Retail Banking said, 'We hope that our commitment will reassure our customers that we are committed to providing them with enough time, professional support and the assistance they need to resolve their financial difficulties'.  

Doug Taylor, Campaigns Team Leader at Which? said, 'repossessions must always be a last resort. Anyone facing financial difficulties must be treated fairly and given time to sort things out. Going forward all lenders should have comprehensive plans in place to offer alternatives to repossessions'.

NatWest withdraws mortgage facilities without reason

Marian and Peter Addyman were given just 30 days notice that NatWest was withdrawing their mortgage and loan facilities. In a letter sent to the couple in October, NatWest threatened repossession proceedings unless a new mortgage offer was presented before the deadline.  

Marian and Peter can't understand why they've been subjected to this treatment.  Marian told us, 'we are not in arrears, although we did have a previous dispute with NatWest over two years ago'. 

NatWest has refused to explain its action.  The 30 day deadline has now passed and the couple have been unable to get a new mortgage in time.  They are now waiting for NatWest's next move. 

Teresa Fritz, Principal Researcher at Which? said, 'the commitment by RBS and NatWest to help customers in arrears seems at complete odds with the treatment the Addyman's have been subjected to.  We are reporting NatWest to the Financial Services Authority and the new committee set up by the Government to monitor the activities of nationalised and part-nationalised banks'.  

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