Please see the criteria sections below for details about some temporary changes, to ensure we can continue to lend responsibly.
Last updated 28 January 2021
The Land Registries in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England and Wales have resumed services. Together, with UK Finance and the relevant Law Registries, they’re in discussions around the impact of the previous closure of registries. We’re aware that there’s a pipeline of applications in all registries and are managing impacted customers on a case by case basis. We’re also aware of the stamp duty implications for the end of March and are monitoring this. If you have any questions please contact your BDM.
We won’t include annual / semi-annual bonuses in LTI and affordability, but we’re still accepting high frequency bonuses along with regular commission and overtime on current payslips. We may request additional documentation to support this, or limit the amount used in our affordability assessment if there’s uncertainty around these payments continuing in the future.
We’ve introduced a temporary LTV limit of 75% (excluding fees) to remortgages which involve the release of capital.
We’ll need to confirm that your self employed customers have resumed trading. We'll request their latest business bank statement to evidence recent trading activity. We may request additional documentation to support our underwriting assessment, including cases where applicants haven’t restarted trading yet.
We will accept a case as face to face if the customer has been seen by you over video link.
We’re still accepting applications from customers who are on furlough provided they have a confirmed return to work date. We’ll ask you to provide evidence of this during the application process.
We’ll assess the income of furloughed applicants with a return to work date based on 100% of their basic salary when they return, taking into account any reduction in salary that may have been agreed.
We won’t take any historic variable income, such as bonus/overtime/commission into account.
In the case of joint applications where one applicant is furloughed, the case may still proceed if the application passes our affordability assessment based on the other, non-furloughed, applicant’s income alone.
Changes in Stamp Duty Land Tax rules for England and Northern Ireland were announced on 8th July. As a result we’ve made a temporary change to our incentive criteria on Help to Buy: Equity Loan purchases only. There is no change to our New Build policy.
If you submitted a Help to Buy application on or before 9th July, we’ll now accept a cash incentive in lieu of any previously agreed stamp duty incentive offers. This only applies if:
- The value of the cash incentive is no greater than 5% of the full purchase price
- The value of the cash incentive is no greater than the value of the original stamp duty incentive declared on the original disclosure of incentives form.
You don’t need to let us know if the incentive has been reduced or removed. The conveyancer won’t need to amend the disclosure of incentives form if it's already been sent to us, and as long as the above criteria is met.
There’s no change to our ID requirements and we’ll continue to complete checks to verify your customer’s ID. In the vast majority of cases proof of ID isn’t required. However if proof of ID is required and you can’t verify the customer ID because of remote working, then we’ve amended our process so that your customer can send the information directly to us. They’ll need to quote the application reference number.
Please speak to your BDM or Telephone BDM if you need further guidance on this.
We’ll continue to offer this as an option for customers facing financial difficulty. We’ll discuss all options with affected customers.
If your customer's financial situation has materially changed, please let us know. You can do this via case messaging on the online portal or call us on 0345 266 8928*.
Any 3 month payment breaks we’ve agreed as a result of Covid-19 will not affect customers’ credit files. All other missed payments will be reported as usual.
We’ll offer an Offer extension if it’s in your customer’s best interests to do so. Either you or your customer can complete the Offer extension request form here. Once we've processed the case, you, your customer and their solicitor will receive a confirmation letter.
At the end of the payment break we’ll automatically add the deferred payments to your customer’s mortgage so they’re repaid by the end of the mortgage term.
There are other options available including:
- Repaying in full at the end of the payment break
- Repaying the deferred amount over a shorter period (rather than the remainder of the term)
- Extending the mortgage term (repayment mortgages only).
Repaying the deferred payments over an agreed period will increase your customer’s standard monthly payment.
The option your customer chooses will depend on their individual circumstances. We’ll write to customers nearing the end of their payment break with more details. They don’t need to contact us before they receive this letter.
If your customer is experiencing short term financial difficulty due to Covid-19, they can apply for a payment break until 31 March 2021 to reduce or stop their monthly mortgage payments for up to three months.
If they’re still experiencing difficulties at the end of their payment break, they will be able to extend their payment break by up to 3 months until 31 July 2021, provided the payment break runs consecutively. For non-consecutive payment break extensions, applications need to be made by 31 March 2021.
They’ll still owe the deferred amount, and the interest on their mortgage will continue to accrue during their payment break. Other options may be more suitable for them.
If your customer expects their situation to affect them longer term, or they have arrears on their mortgage account, please ask them to contact us, so we can discuss which options may be best for them.
We’ll write to your customer near the end of their payment break to explain the options available to repay their deferred payments. If they are able to resume mortgage payments, either partially or in full, it is in their best interests to do so.
However, if after taking their initial 3 month payment break, your customer is still experiencing, or is likely to experience short term financial issues as a result of Covid-19, they can request to extend their payment break for up to 3 months until 31 July 2021, provided the payment break runs consecutively. For non-consecutive payment break extensions, applications need to be made by 31 March 2021.
They can only apply for an extension if they’ve received a letter from us confirming what their next steps are. This will be sent before their payments are due to start again.
Once they have received their payment break end letter, they can apply for a payment break extension by completing the Payment Break Extension Application form here. By submitting the request, they’re confirming that all parties to the mortgage consent to the extension.
When your customer takes a payment break, the amount owed and any interest charged will be added to their mortgage account. This will increase their monthly payments once the payment break ends, so they’ll need to make sure they can afford the increased payment. If they can afford to make their mortgage payment either partially or in full, they should do so.
There’ll be no impact to your customer’s credit file. However, there are other ways lenders can see if they’ve taken a payment break, such as the balance of their mortgage over this period, or information from their bank account. Lenders may take this into account when assessing future applications.
There’s no change to the procurement fee or payment process.
We continue to lend up to a maximum of 85% LTV across all new mortgages and further advances.
You can complete product transfers for customers on a payment break. Simply call our intermediary enquiry line on 0345 266 8928* and a specialist will take you through the process.
We’ll email you the illustration, and then we’ll email the Offer to you and your customer. They can sign electronically, so there’s no need to post anything back to us.
In line with government advice, where possible, teams are working remotely from home. This includes underwriters and some of our support teams. Our Telephone BDMs and Intermediary Enquiry Line are still currently working as normal.
Our panel of valuers can carry out physical valuations throughout the UK where both national and regional lockdown rules permit them, and where it’s safe for them and the occupier in accordance with each nation’s Government Covid-19 regulation guidance. If it’s not deemed safe, rather than delaying the case, desktop valuations will be carried out for applications up to and including 85% LTV. All applications must have a physical inspection where the requested LTV exceeds 85%. For cases where, for Covid-19 regulatory reasons a physical inspection isn’t possible, the valuation will be placed on hold until a time that one can be carried out, in accordance with the product’s requirements.
Our usual process remains unchanged and we’ll only issue a valuation report where a physical inspection has taken place. Please speak to your BDM or Telephone BDM for advice.
In order to maintain service levels and to support your business, we’ll continue to pay standard mortgage valuation and revaluation fee-scales. We’ll also, where possible, use all of our panel firms in order to maintain coverage across the UK.
Title deeds are currently being worked on following our normal process, but we may be a bit slower than usual. Key information is available on the Land Registry for registered cases in England and Wales.
We’re currently experiencing high call volumes, so we recommend that customers visit the customer hub on our website for information. Please ask them to visit their mortgage hub.
Please be assured that we will help everyone impacted but would like to first speak to customers whose payments are due. Therefore if your customer’s payment is due within the next 7 days, and they need immediate financial support, please ask them to contact us (see payment breaks section). If their payment is not due in the next 7 days, please ask them to call closer to their payment date when we will be able to provide help.