HSBC UK has today reassured me they are standing ready to support personal and business customers as they tackle the financial impact of COVID-19. Measures they have put in place are:
Support for personal customers
HSBC UK are prepared to reduce or defer mortgage payments, temporarily increase credit card and overdraft limits, and allow early access to fixed-rate savings accounts without charges. They have passed on the base rate cut to variable rate mortgage customers. From 26 March, HSBC UK are introducing a temporary £300 interest-free buffer on overdrafts for a period of three months.
Support for business customers
HSBC UK have allocated £5bn for SMEs that need support, £3bn for businesses that trade internationally, and removed the £100 fee for Small Business Loans. They will consider repayment holidays, changing terms on overdrafts or trade loans, and providing guarantees to support customer supply chains.
The Government launched the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide loans of up to £5m to firms that cannot seek finance in the normal way. HSBC UK will waive all arrangement and prepayment fees and will not seek personal guarantees for loans up to £250,000. Implementing a new scheme at speed creates challenges, but they are endeavouring to work through them as quickly as possible. CBILS applications must go through a credit assessment process, and be eligible under British Business Bank rules.
For companies involved in the supply and manufacture of ventilators, HSBC UK will offer preferential pricing, extended repayment terms on loans and fast track approval times to support the unprecedented demand on UK hospitals.
Branches and contact centres
HSBC are doing their very best to keep as many branches open as possible, but during this difficult time, all branches will be closed at the weekend and many are on reduced hours. In line with public health advice, we have implemented social distancing measures across the network. Most everyday banking needs can be managed via the mobile and online services. The telephone contact centre (0345 740 4404) is open from 08:00 to 20:00, except for lost and stolen cards, which is open 24/7. They are receiving far more calls than usual, so wait times are likely to be longer.
For more information please visit https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/coronavirus/