Coronavirus Hub

Coronavirus Hub

 

Coronavirus Updates

 

Mortgage Payment Holidays - Latest Update 03/08/2020

03/08/2020 Update

 

Can I remortgage (including borrowing more) whilst on a payment holiday?

 

·      No. To ensure the customer can afford the mortgage together with their existing commitments, the customer must be able to evidence sustainability of all payments. This would include having finished the payment holiday (where no payments have been made) with their existing lender and having made at least one full monthly scheduled payment after the holiday has ended.

 

 

02/04/2020 Update

To help you and your customers, here are some of the key facts regarding our payment holiday process:

 

·         We can confirm that as long as the mortgage has completed a customer can take a payment holiday if their financial circumstances are impacted by Covid-19.

 

·         Customers will not be considered to be in arrears during the period of an agreed mortgage payment holiday if they were up to date when the repayment holiday was entered into, and there will be no impact on their credit file.   

 

·         However customers credit score may be negatively affected if they miss a payment and haven’t already applied for a mortgage holiday.

 

·         Where a customer is already in arrears when they approach us for additional help, we will look at what further assistance we can offer.

 

·         The payment holiday period can last for up to 3 months and no further evidence will be requested following the discussion with our dedicated team.

 

·         Payments to both capital and interest are suspended during the agreed period and interest will continue to accrue during the holiday period. Payments are recalculated at the end of the holiday period to repay the new balance over the remaining term.

 

·         There is currently no facility for an Interest Only Switch process for customers on Capital and Interest mortgage contracts.

 

·         Any agreed payment holiday linked to Covid-19 will not impact the customer’s ability to complete a product transfer online, either directly or through a broker.

 

·         Where you are completing a product transfer for your customer we will not carry out  new credit or affordability checks if you keep the same mortgage amount and repayment type.

 

·         We can review payment holiday requests for landlords with a Buy-to-Let mortgages and also customers with a Consent to Let mortgage that are linked to Covid-19.  The process for this is the same as a residential request communicated last week using the links below.

 

Existing Natwest Customers

Existing Ulsterbank Customers

Existing RBS Customers

 

 

Evidencing Employed Income When Returning From Furlough - Latest Update 09/07/2020

 

09/07/2020 Update

 

What’s Happening

 

Due to easing of Coronavirus restrictions across the UK, many customers will be returning to their workplace after previously being furloughed.   We have reviewed and updated our policy to support you and your customers when applying for a mortgage with us.

 

We will continue to review our policy in light of any Coronavirus related changes.

 

For customers not impacted by furlough, there are no changes to our current policies.

The updated guidance is effective from 9th July 2020 and covers the types of evidence required to support new applications at each stage of the customers return to work post furlough.

 

Please familiarise yourself with the packaging guidance.

 

Self employed policy remains the same.

 

 

Certification of Documents - Latest Update 09/04/2020

09/04/2020 Update

 

What’s Happening

We have listened to your feedback regarding the impacts of certifying customer documents and to support you we are making some temporary changes to our certification requirements for Income and Expenditure supporting documentation.

 

 

What you need to know

We have amended our certification wording to:

 

“I am confirming either that the scanned documentation is a true copy of an original document, or where electronic documentation is being supplied, this is an unaltered document obtained by the client directly from the corresponding business or organisation.”

 

These changes apply immediately and the online declaration has been amended on our scan and upload platform

 

Acceptable documents

 

For Income/Expenditure:

 

•             Photograph of a hardcopy document

•             Scan of a hardcopy document

•             ‘Official’ digital version of a document (e.g. e-payslips, online PDF bank statement etc…)

•             The Photograph must be:

·                     taken from above the document

·                     Free of distortion/effects

·                     Well-lit in natural light (not taken with a flash)

·                     Clear text and numbers

·                     Easy to read throughout

·                     Whole document visible

·                     Document must not be cropped or edited

·                     PDF, GIF, PNG or JPG format

•             Each photo must contain one document/page only

 

Unacceptable documents

 

•             Screenshots from mobile/tablet/PC/laptop etc

•             Photographs of a screen

•             Manual documents (e.g. Excel spreadsheets instead of bank statements etc…)

•             Taken at an angle

•             Visible distortions or flash effects

•             Very dark

•             Unclear/blurry text and numbers

•             Difficult to read

•             Parts of document missing/cannot be read

•             Cropped or edited pictures

•             Any other file format

•             Multiple documents/pages in each photo

 

 

 

For Customer Identification / Address verification: There are no changes to this process.

 

Valuations - Latest Update 01/07/2020

01/07/2020: Physical Valuations - Leicester

 

What’s Happening

 

In response to the high rates of COVID-19 infection in the community, the UK Government has confirmed an extended localised lockdown in Leicester for at least two weeks from today, 30 June 2020.

 

This means that all physical Valuations already “booked” and “to be booked” beyond this date will move into a hold position until Government guidelines are updated enabling physical valuations to begin again.

 

What you need to know:

 

Measures will apply to both the City of Leicester and, "the surrounding conurbation including, for example, Oadby, Birstall and Glenfield". The following areas in Blaby District are affected by the restrictions:

 

• Braunstone Town (including Fosse Park)

• Glenfield

• Glen Parva

• Leicester Forest East (East of the M1)

• Thorpe Astley.

In Charnwood, the lockdown applies in:

• Birstall

• Thurmaston.

 

We await more detailed information from the UK Government on impacted areas

 

What you need to do:

 

For any new applications , we will attempt an alternative  Non-physical valuation on the property in the first instance, however, where this is not possible your customer’s application will be placed on hold and our valuation partners will be in contact with you when restrictions are lifted.

 

For your clients applications who were already booked in for a physical valuation our valuation partners will be in contact with you to confirm the application is on hold.

 

 

23/06/2020: Resuming Physical Valuations - Scotland and Wales

 

Following updated guidelines from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, we are pleased to confirm we are recommencing physical valuations as of Monday 29th June in Scotland and 22nd June in Wales.

 

This applies to:

·         Residential and Buy to Let applications

·         Properties in Scotland and Wales only where the occupier allows access

·         Properties where the valuer confirms the property is safe to enter

 

This does not apply to:

·         Properties where the occupier does not allow access

·         Properties where the valuer confirms it is not safe to enter.

 

If the application relates to a property in Scotland, please note that our process for Transcript valuations remains unaffected and the Home Report must have been completed within the last 90 days if you are intending to rely on a Transcript.

 

For England please refer to the previous guidance issued on 15th May. For Northern Ireland refer to the previous guidance issued on 15th June.

Where we are not able to complete a property valuation in person, the customer’s application will be placed on hold.

We will continue to work closely with all of our valuers and will be working at pace to progress all applications, prioritising those which are currently on hold subject to a physical valuation.

 

16/06/2020: Resuming Physical Valuations - Northern Ireland

Following updated guidelines from the Northern Ireland Assembly, we are pleased to confirm we are recommencing physical valuations as of Monday 15th June.

 

This is for both Residential and Buy to Let applications for all building types in Northern Ireland where the occupier is comfortable to allow access, and the valuer confirms the property is safe to enter in line with the most up to date guidelines. We will be in touch with you as this situation changes in the other regions in the UK.

We will continue to work closely with all of our valuers and will be working at pace to progress all applications, prioritising those which are currently on hold subject to a valuation.

 

15/05/2020: Resuming Physical Valuations - England

 

Following updated guidelines from the UK Government, we are pleased to confirm we are recommencing standard valuations as of Monday 18th May.

 

This applies to:

·         Residential and Buy to Let applications

·         Properties in England only where the occupier allows access

·         Properties where the valuer confirms the property is safe to enter

This does not apply to:

·         Properties located in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales

·         Properties where the occupier does not allow access

·         Properties where the valuer does not confirm it is safe to enter

·         Applications where a Homebuyer’s Report or Building Survey has been requested

We will provide further updates as this changes in the other regions in the UK.

Where we are not able to complete a property valuation in person, the customers application will be placed on hold.

We will continue to work closely with all of our valuers and will be working at pace to progress all applications, prioritising those which are currently on hold subject to a valuation.

 

13/05/2020:

To align with Covid-19 guidelines set out by the UK Government all physical property valuations and surveys were suspended on 24th March. We have worked since then with valuers to ensure we can safely support as many customers as possible. On Tuesday 12th May Government guidelines were updated with the intention to allow physical inspections of properties in England in line with social distancing guidelines.  At this time there are no changes for properties in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

 

We are currently working with our valuation partners to develop our approach to this updated guidance so that our valuers can undertake physical inspection of properties, safely for the valuer and the home owner.

 

06/05/2020: Update on AVM and Desktop Valuations 

 

Click here to access our helpful guide on valuations!

 

24/04/2020 – Valuations Update  - Northern Ireland

 

To support customers in Northern Ireland, where previously the only type of valuation available was a physical valuation, we have agreed to temporarily accept a remote desktop valuation so that we can continue to meet customer needs.

 

For more details on Desktops Valuation please see our update dated 02/04/2020 below.

 

02/04/2020 Update:

 

We are working closely with our surveying partners to identify and develop alternative methods of providing  valuations, without having to visit the property.

We have launched a Desktop Valuation model through Legal & General Surveying Services  (LGSS)  for use when physical and automated valuations are not possible.

 

What you need to know;

 

·         A desktop valuation is typically carried out within 2 working days of instruction

·         Collections of standard valuation fees will continue where applicable and any adjustment in cost will be refunded to the customer

·         Desktop valuations will be attempted for residential properties, up to £2,999,999 in value, in England, Scotland & Wales.

·         Buy to let, New Build, Flats, properties over £3m in value and all properties in Northern Ireland are not eligible for a Desktop Valuation

·         Current volatile market conditions are likely to be reflected in the valuation amount

·         It is not possible to appeal a Desktop Valuation and the Post Valuation Query process (PVQ) does not apply  

·         Where a physical valuation is the only option, applications will continue to be assessed by an underwriter and a decision provided, subject to valuation.

·         We will not be able to provide a formal mortgage offer until receipt of valuation

·         HPI valuations will continue to be available for applicable existing business cases at this time

 

 

Valuations - Cases over three months old - Latest Update 19/06/2020

19/06/2020 Update:

 

What’s happening?


Due to the temporary pause on physical valuations as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we have identified cases where customers’ valuations are being received but advice was provided more than 3 months ago. We are implementing a new process to review such cases to identify whether the advice/underwrite decision is still valid, before we proceed to offer.

 

What you need to know

 

When a valuation has been returned 3 months after the mortgage application was submitted, a declaration form must be completed to confirm whether the customers’ financial circumstances have changed since they applied.

Brokers will be contacted to complete this form which can be found here.

Safety and Wellbeing - Latest Update 11/03/2020

11/03/2020 Update

 

We're actively managing the evolving impact of the coronavirus outbreak, with the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and communities being our main priority.

 

 

Customers (Help for personal customers)

 

 

Some customers may be impacted financially by the coronavirus outbreak, for example due to loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate and as you would expect we have a range of options to assist all customers in financial difficulty, regardless of the root cause for example - Mortgage and loan repayment deferral for up to three months.

Please visit our Website for further guidance on how we can help personal and business customers.

 

 

Staff

 

The Bank is providing daily updates and is following advice from the World Health Organisation and local health authorities, like Public Health England.  As it is an evolving situation, we are recommending staff use official sources for all the latest news and guidance.

We are giving advice and guidance for any staff travelling from hot spot areas and providing basic hygiene tips.

 

 

Operational Contingency

 

We have been testing remote/home working with a number of our teams to allow us to reduce operational impact across the NWIS business.

We continue to work closely with other business areas that support the full mortgage journey to monitor ongoing impact and ensure we maintain our current high standards of service you expect from us.  

 

 

Our Service Commitments - Latest Update 08/07/2020

08/07/2020 Update

 

With immediate affect we will be unable to provide you with case updates or escalations for any applications that are within SLA.

 

As you are aware we are currently experiencing increased timescales processing your application due to the current Pandemic.

 

To help you manage your customers expectations we have updated our SLA’s
to reflect the current increased processing times for self employed cases. Please review these before submitting any applications.

 

Can we request you review packaging guidelines ahead of any submissions, this will help us progress your case without unnecessary delays.

 

If you have an urgent completion within 48 hours we will require a written confirmation from the Solicitor before we will be able to action your request. Please email NatWestUrgentrequests@rbs.co.uk for us to action your request.

 

By doing this we will be able to focus our efforts on supporting urgent applications which are outside of timescales.

 

20/03/2020 Update

At NatWest Intermediary Solutions we are actively managing the evolving impact of the coronavirus outbreak, with the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and communities being our main priority.

 

With the news from the Government on the 17th March regarding their help and support to those who are most vulnerable, we have received an increase in enquiries from customers who are seeking mortgage payment holidays. This has resulted in longer wait times.

 

Due to this unprecedented demand and to enable us to deal with our vulnerable customers, we have made the temporary decision to close our broker telephone line. To ensure our cases are being dealt with as efficiently as possible, we have set up an exclusive e-mail just for brokers where we can be contacted about cases that sit outside of our service levels: NatWestUrgentrequests@rbs.co.uk If your case is within our current Service Levels, please refrain from contacting us as we will be progressing your case.

 

Update - New Business

 

In order to avoid an underwriter requesting further information and therefore additional delays please always refer to our Packaging Guide, and don’t forget to use our Document Upload facility.

 

Update - Valuers and Solicitors

 

We have engaged with all our 3rd party suppliers to seek clarity on their business continuity plans, to ensure what they have in place helps to retain their current service offering to you and your customers. At present, no supplier has called out any challenges to volume or demand.

 

Wherever possible our valuers and solicitors would ask that you contact them via e-mail or through their case tracking tool where applicable. They will be running a skeleton staff manning phones; however the majority of staff will be monitoring e-mail pots, web chat services and their respective portals.

 

Update – Customer Email address

 

In helping us to expedite our processes as much as possible, please include your customer’s email address on every application, this ensures their offers are delivered quickly.

 

Update - Questions relating to Customer, process and policy

 

We are receiving a number of questions relating to Coronavirus and the impact this is having to new and existing customers, processes and policy. We are committed to respond to these questions in due course and will endeavour to provide you all with a regular update.

Clearly these are unprecedented times but we are committed to continue to provide the service you expect from us.

Offer Extensions - Latest Update: 07/05/2020

07/05/2020 New Build Offer Extension Update

 

For New Build extension requests already received and for new requests to be submitted, the maximum offer extension will initially be for a three month period but will not require confirmation of the property value.

 

Please continue to use the existing New Build Offer extension form on our website when submitting requests. 

 

The offer extension request will be assessed and take into account any change in the Customers circumstances that you have made us aware of. 

 

Prior to submitting the offer extension request, please check our affordability calculator to ensure the case is still affordable. Where the case no longer passes the affordability test, you may of course decide to vary the requirements of the application (for example a lower loan amount and/ or extend the mortgage term.)

 

If you are looking to amend the Customers requirements as a result of a change in their circumstances, please provide an accompanying memo when forwarding supporting documents for the case to be assessed.

 

Further information and Guidance

 

The above temporary change to our normal process will provide Customers with increased certainty in relation to their offer and allow a further period of time for completion of their mortgage.

 

14/04/2020 Update

 

Where customers are one month from their offer expiring and need an extension by up to 3 months you can contact us on their behalf to request the extension.

 

The request will then be assessed and will take into account any change in the Customers circumstances that you have made us aware of.

Prior to submitting the offer extension request, please check our affordability calculator to ensure the case is still affordable.

 

Where the case no longer passes the affordability test, you may of course decide to vary the requirements of the application (for example a lower loan amount and/ or extend the mortgage term.)

 

If you are looking to amend the Customers requirements as a result of a change in their circumstances, please provide an accompanying memo when forwarding supporting documents for the case to be assessed.

 

The three month offer extension request form can be found on the useful Forms and Guides page of our website.

 

Please use the “EMAIL FORM” button at the bottom of the Request form to submit and attach any accompanying documents in support of the Request.

 

Please note that the existing New Build 6 Month Offer Extension request process remains unchanged.

Our primary focus remains to ensure that any mortgage we provide to your customer is affordable and we will continue to work closely with both you and those customers who have requested an extension to their mortgage offer.

 

 

 

Title Registrations - Latest Update: 22/04/2020

22/04/2020 Update

 

What’s happening?

 

COVID-19 is having varying impacts on the land registries for England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and their ability to undertake the post completion process to register our charge over the mortgaged property.

 

What you need to know

 

There is no change to the process for Further Advances as we already hold a legal charge over the mortgage property. In line with the advice from the government, customers should not be seeking to complete on a Purchase unless this cannot be avoided.  For:

 

England & Wales: HM Land Registry is still able to continue to provide a service which registers charges over properties, albeit timescales are expected to be longer than usual.

 

Scotland: Registers of Scotland are unable to provide a service which registers charges over properties at this time, however they are working on a digital solution which is expected to take some time.  In the meantime, they have made arrangements to protect lenders by extending the period of the “Advance Notice” beyond the usual 35 days. This means our request will remain ahead of any subsequent requests for a charge over the property.

 

Northern Ireland: We have been working with Land Registers of Northern Ireland as they are unable to provide a service which registers charges over properties at this time - however they have made arrangements to protect lenders by extending the period of the “Priority Search”. This means our charge will remain ahead of any subsequent applications and can be registered as a first legal charge when their service resumes.

 

What you need to do

 

With immediate effect:

 

Northern Ireland: The solicitor must contact us and be able to confirm the following:

 

Where you have been instructed to act for the Bank you must:

 

 

1. Where the relevant property consists of registered land:

a. Obtain an updated folio search via LandWeb prior to completion which must show no pending applications

b. Lodge the Bank’s Priority Search on the Land Registry e-registration system

c. Obtain an updated folio search on day of completion which must show the Bank’s Priority Search as the only pending application (before transfer of funds)

d. On completion lodge application to register the Bank’s charge on the Land Registry e-registration system

e. Lodge all necessary documentation to complete registration of the Bank’s charge as a first legal charge as soon as possible on re-opening of the Land Registry within the relevant Priority Period.

 

2. Where the relevant property consists of unregistered land

a. Obtain search up to last available date

b. Submit all necessary documentation and application to register Bank’s mortgage as a first legal mortgage immediately on re-opening of Registry of Deeds in order to secure first priority for Bank’s mortgage

 

3. Where you are unable to obtain a Property Certificate (local authority searches) – you must obtain suitable title indemnity policy to cover this risk. Our standard requirements set out in section 9 of the UK Finance Mortgage Lender’s Handbook apply. 

 

 

 

 

Scotland: completions for Purchase, Remortgage and Transfer of Title can continue at this time.  Please note Registers of Scotland are not able to register and confirm any charges at this time. Therefore with immediate effect our process to follow up with Registers of Scotland should be suspended until further notice.

 

England & Wales: completions for Purchase, Remortgage and Transfer of Title can continue at this time.  Please note it may take longer than usual for HM Land Registry to notify us that our charge has been registered.  Until further notice HM Land Registry will not be able provide commercial reports on completions.

 

 

Employed Customer Income - Latest Update: 02/04/2020

02/04/2020 Update

What’s Happening?

 

Individuals across the UK are being impacted by COVID-19 and this has had knock-on impacts across many industries. Many customers could face an impact on their employed income on either a permanent or temporary basis.

At this time, our primary purpose remains to ensure that any mortgage we provide to our customers is affordable.

 

What you need to know
With immediate effect, we are making some changes to our guidance on assessing and treating employed income. This applies to both new and existing residential and Buy to Let customers, where affordability assessments would be completed.

 

These changes also apply to applications that have been previously submitted both pre and post offer.  Please notify us of any material change of the customer’s circumstances in order for us to reassess affordability.

 

Customer Scenarios

·         Customers who have not and do not expect to experience a change in their employed  income

o   Treat in line with our current policies and processes

 

·         Customers who have or expect to have a reduction in their employed income

o   If the customer can provide evidence of their revised income, this revised figure will be used when assessing affordability.

o   If the customer cannot  provide evidence of their revised income, we will be unable to help until they are able to provide evidence

 

·         Customers who are no longer receiving employed income or have been told by their employer that their employed income will not continue, AND it is not being replaced by the government scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme)

o   Please explain that we will be unable to help with a mortgage application at this time

 

The government scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) is an income type that we will accept and Credit Policy will be updated accordingly.

 

 

Self Employed Customer Income - Latest Update 29/06/2020

29/06/2020 Update:

 

What’s Happening

 

Following the temporary changes we made to our self employed criteria and packaging requirements on the 15th May as a result of the Covid-19 crisis this update is designed to support you as a broker to help us provide a more enhanced service for our customers.


Our primary purpose remains to ensure that any mortgage we provide to our customers is affordable, whilst supporting brokers understanding of any changes.  In order to achieve this we need your help.

 

 

What you need to do

 

Criteria - examples of customers  

  • Customers who have not and do not expect to experience a change in their self employed income.
  • Customers who have and/or expect to have a reduction in their self employed income, including those eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).  
  • Customers that cannot provide evidence of their revised income or fail the affordability assessment, please explain we will not be able to assist them at this time and please  do not submit an application.  There are no exceptions to this policy.

 

Affordability

When completing the affordability calculator for a new application you must calculate income using the lower of:

  • The average of the last two years net profit
  • The most recent years profit
  • The confirmed government income support amount

 

For Directors of a Limited Company (more than 20% share) you must use the lower of:

  • The average of the last two years salary and dividends
  • The most recent years salary and dividends

 

 

Packaging

For all self-employed customers , the following evidence must be provided on submission of application.  If applications are received without full packaging this will delay processing and if do not receive with in 15 days we will lapse the case.

In addition to NatWest’s usual ID and Verification criteria, you much also provide:

·         2 years most recent accounts or 2 years full and final/submitted tax returns

·         3 months personal bank accounts

·         3 months business bank accounts

·         You must complete the self-employed supplementary information sheet along with the required packaging on submission

·         If applicable – Government letter confirming successful application for the Self-Employed Income support scheme – this must be the final letter which confirms the amount payable

 

 

Important points to note:

 

·         To assist the underwriter in making a decision please explain the customers personal and business circumstances and how they will be able to meet their on going mortgage obligations in the current climate including all additional liabilities taken on during the lockdown period.

 

·         Where additional funds are being requested, ensure you capture the reason for further borrowing as we may ask for evidence of purpose of funds.  Debt consolidation will not be accepted for additional funds as this time.

 

·         You should be clear with your customer that their application may be declined at underwriting stage where we are not satisfied with the income calculated and/or that on-going affordability cannot be evidenced. This decision will be final and cannot be appealed.

 

·         Where your customer’s income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, they are not eligible for the government Self Employment Income Support Scheme and their revised income fails affordability assessment, please explain we will not be able to assist them at this time and do not submit an application.

 

 

These changes also apply to applications that have already been submitted but have not yet completed:

  • Where you inform us of a material change to the application
  • Where the customer has contacted us to make us aware of a change to their self employed income

We do not expect you to proactively review your pipeline.

 

As a responsible lender, we have been able to make these changes whilst ensuring that we maintain our risk appetite and the quality of business we accept.

 

 

14/05/2020 Update: Self Employed Customers

From the 15th May we are changing how we assess self-employed income. This applies to Residential and Buy to Let customers where an affordability assessment would be completed.

 

1.     We have made temporary changes to our self-employed packaging requirements for new business applications

 

2.     We require the completion of a supplementary information sheet as part of the required packaging when submitting a self-employed new business application

 

These changes will also apply to applications that have already been submitted but have not yet completed:

  • Where you inform us of a material change to the application
  • Where the customer has contacted us to make us aware of a change to their self employed income

We do not expect you to proactively review your pipeline.

 

 

What you need to do

 

When assessing affordability you must use the lower of:

  • The average of the last two years net profit
  • The most recent years profit
  • The confirmed government income support amount

 

Where additional funds are being requested, ensure you capture the reason for further borrowing as we may ask for evidence of purpose of funds.

 

Where customers are in a position to proceed, you must complete the self-employed supplementary information sheet along with all the required packaging on submission.

The application will not progress unless full packaging requirements are complete. Exceptions cannot be submitted to proceed with an application where the full packaging requirements are not available.

 

You should be clear with your customer that their application may be declined at underwriting stage where we are not satisfied that on-going affordability can be evidenced. This decision will be final and cannot be appealed.

 

Where your customer’s income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, they are not eligible for the government Self Employment Income Support Scheme and their revised income fails affordability assessment, please explain we will not be able to assist them at this time and do not submit an application.

Applications including Debt Consolidation - Latest Update: 06/05/2020

06/05/2020 Update

 

What’s Happening

 

To provide clarity to our current approach for applications including debt consolidation where payment holidays are being taken, we can confirm that with effect from 6th May we will not lend to customers for debt consolidation where there is a payment holiday in place on either secured or unsecured lending.

 

What you need to know

 

·         We are temporarily not offering debt consolidation to customers who are currently on a  mortgage payment holiday with their existing lender

·         We are temporarily not offering debt consolidation for an unsecured loan or credit card where there is a payment holiday or arrangement in place. This includes where the payment holiday is in place for the debt to be consolidated, or any other credit cards or loans.

·         There will be no exceptions to the above two points

 

·         This is a short term policy, we will consider applications for debt consolidation when customers can evidence that 1 payment has been made following any payment holiday. This applies to both mortgages and any unsecured debts which have been on payment holidays. For example:

 

o   Customer only has a payment holiday in place for their mortgage. This comes to an end  May 15th

o   Customers resumed mortgage payment is taken out on 18th May.

o   Customer can be considered for debt consolidation from 18th May. Payment to be evidenced on bank statement

·         If there are no payment holidays in place for either the existing mortgage or unsecured debts then normal policy criteria will apply.

 

We do not expect you to proactively review your pipeline.

 

Pipeline cases will only be affected by this new policy where a material change to the application is identified either by you, the customer or in the process of underwriting the application.

If you are made aware of any material changes to the customer’s circumstances, please notify us as normal in order for us to reassess the application.

 

What you need to do

 

When proceeding with an element of debt consolidation:

·         Ensure there is no payment holiday in place on the existing mortgage

·         Ensure there are no payment holidays / arrangements in place for any unsecured loans or credit cards whether being consolidated or not

Where additional funds are being requested, ensure you capture the reason for further borrowing

You should be clear with your customer that their application may be declined at underwriting stage if it is identified that there is a payment holiday in place

 

 

 

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

Valuations - Cases over three months old

1.       Why does the broker need to complete the Broker Declaration of Changes in Customer Circumstances?

 

The bank has a duty of care to ensure that it lends appropriately. Given that it has been more than 3 months since the customer’s circumstances were documented, we are asking that they are reconfirmed with the customer.

 

Where no changes are found we can continue to offer, as the form will act as our audit trail to confirm that there has been no material change to the customers circumstance, and that the Underwriter’s decision is therefore still valid.

 

If material changes are identified, please ensure these are reflected in the declaration form listed in our Forms and Guides section, via your standard process for amendments.

 

2.       My customer has told me they have no changes do I have to fill out the form?         

 

Yes, the form will act as our audit trail to confirm that there has been no material changes to the customer’s circumstance, and that the mortgage remains affordable and suitable.

 

3.       If my customer tells me there are changes, do I have to fill out the form?   

 

Yes, the form will act as our audit trail to confirm what material changes to the customer’s circumstance have occurred.

 

4.       I haven’t spoken to my customers recently, do I have to proactively contact my customer to complete this form?  

 

Yes, the form must be completed on the customer’s current circumstances; therefore there must have been a recent conversation to understand these.

 

5.       How long will it be for an offer to be issued after I have completed this form?        

 

Our standard SLA is slightly extended due to the ongoing COVID-19 impacts on valuations; however this should still be progressed within a few days.

 

6.       Can you proceed to offer without this form?             

 

No, we are unable to proceed to offer without the completed form.

 

7.       How do I return the form to you?   

 

Once the form has been completed, please submit this to us via the document upload facility on our website. For MTE users only, please use intermediarydocs@natwest.com

 

Resuming Physical Valuations

1.       Will Desktop valuations continue to take place? 

a.      Yes – wherever possible a desktop valuation will be attempted first. Where this is unsuccessful, or property out of scope for desktop, the application will then have a physical valuation requested.

 

2.       (Properties in England only) How will we be prioritising physical valuations for applications currently on hold?

a.       In order to ensure we treat all customers fairly, physical valuations will be arranged in order of date of the mortgage application being submitted, i.e. oldest first.

 

3.       A customer has requested a Homebuyers Report or Building Survey, will this happen now that some physical valuations can take place again?

a.       No –  we are working with surveyors to complete property valuations, but at this stage they are still developing a way to keep the occupier of the property and the valuer safe during the much longer visit required for this type of more-detailed survey.

 

4.       (Properties in England only) Can a customer who has requested either a Homebuyer’s Report or a Building Survey change their mind and choose a standard valuation?

a.       Although a customer can change their mind on the valuation type they request, this must be a customer led conversation and should not be suggested by the broker. The customer must be made aware of the differences between the different valuation types, and confirm they still wish to proceed with a standard valuation.

 

5.       My customer urgently needs the valuation appointment can I get it prioritised?

a.       No - In order to ensure we treat all customers fairly, physical valuations will be arranged in order of date of the mortgage application being submitted, i.e. oldest first.

 

6.       The property for my customer’s application is not located in England, what does the update from Monday 18th May mean for them?

a.       Current government guidelines for the rest of the UK remains unchanged. This means that we cannot currently complete a physical valuation for these customers.
We will continue to attempt desktop valuations where possible.

 

7.       (Properties in England only) My customer has now had a physical valuation on the property, when will the case proceed to offer?

a.       As we will be receiving a significantly increased number of valuation reports compared to our processing times, the time for the application to progress after the valuation will be extended.

We do not anticipate this taking beyond 5 working days at this time. If this position changes, we will communicate the update accordingly.

 

8.       I have a new case to send in today, what timescale should my customer expect the valuation to be completed in?

a.       Wherever possible a desktop valuation attempted first, and this is typically a 2 working days timescale. Where this is unsuccessful, or property out of scope for desktop, the application will then have a physical valuation requested.

In order to ensure we treat all customers fairly, physical valuations will be arranged in order of date of the mortgage application being submitted, i.e. oldest first.

We are continuing to work closely with our valuation partners to improve this.

Valuations

1.       I’ve submitted an application and have a valuation booked will this get completed?

a.       All physical property valuations have now been paused due to government advice, if we are able to complete a non physical  valuation then we will proceed with your application

 

2.       I’ve submitted an application and don’t have a valuation booked will this get completed?

a.       If we are able to complete a non physical valuation then we will proceed with your application. If we can’t obtain a non physical valuation, we’ll inform you of the next steps

 

3.       I’ve paid for a valuation and it’s not being completed, can I have a refund?

a.       In line with normal BAU process, if a customer would like to withdraw an application, the valuation fee will be refunded should the valuation not have taken place. Please ensure the customer is aware that this will lapse their application and should they want to progress again in the future a new application will need to be submitted.

 

4.       What happens to my application?

a.       If we are able to obtain a non physical valuation, the application will progress as normal. If we are unable to obtain a valuation, the application will be placed on hold  until such time as we are able to obtain a valuation. 

 

5.       Why can’t you proceed without a valuation?

a.       For all secured lending, an assessment of the property is required to ensure the property is secure to lend against.  Without a valuation we can’t lend

 

6.       When will you be able to complete a valuation on my property

a.       If we are able to complete a non-physical valuation on your property then this should be completed within 2 days. In the event we cannot complete a non-physical valuation we will be in contact to inform you of the next steps

 

7.       Will I lose my property now?

a.       Your solicitor will be able to advise you where you are in the purchase process and advice.

 

8.       I have an offer on my remortgage; will this be honoured, with the valuation that has been completed?

a.       Yes

 

9.       Can I choose a non-physical valuation over a physical valuation to progress?

a.       We will where possible look to carry out a non physical valuation.  However, it is the banks risk rules and criteria that determines  the type of valuation that is within each product risk criteria.

 

10.   What’s the position on PVQ’s on pipeline cases?

a.       BAU processes surrounding valuations including PVQs for pipeline cases remain unchanged

 

11.   What type of valuations are still available and why?

a.       Automated and Physical Valuations have been stopped for New Mortgage applications.  Desktop valuations are the only property assessment vehicle that we are using for these applications during this current period.

b.      Valuation methods remain unchanged for our existing Mortgage customers, including AVM and HPI

 

12.   Can I upgrade an existing valuation e.g. AVM to Desktop

a.       We can upgrade a valuation from an AVM to desktop only. Physical valuations are not available to be requested

 

13.   If a customer would like a home buyers report does the whole valuation get put on hold until a valuer can visit?

a.       As long as a case meets desktop criteria, then that element will still complete.  LGSS will then contact the customer to discuss the need for the HBR to go on hold and will then re contact them when this becomes available to complete.

 

14.   If a customer wants a home-buyers or structural survey, do we charge them as per BAU process?

a.       Yes, at present we are still offering comprehensive surveys to those customers who would like one, however we need to inform customers that there will be a delay as valuers are not completing physical inspections at present. LGSS will continue to contact customers who have requested a survey to discuss options.

 

15.   When completing a mortgage application where we hope to complete a desk top valuation, what fee should the customer be charged?

a.       At present, there are no changes to our fee scale.  If there is an adjustment to fees, we will contact the customer to arrange a refund.

 

16.   Do the customers have to pay for a valuation and does it need to show on the illustration/offer?

a.       Yes, there is no change to fees.  We are still progressing applications.  All that is changing is for some customers who would normally need a physical valuation, their application will be placed on hold until we can either send valuers out again, or we find an alternative valuation method for them.

 

17.   My customer wishes to  cancel their application and receive a refund of fees. When will they receive the funds back into their account?

a.       Refunds will be issued back onto the same card details that made the payment within 6 working days.  If there are any issues refunding to that card the refund will then be made directly back to the customers bank account as per the details on the mortgage application form.

 

18. What is the process if the desktop valuation is lower than the property value?

a.       We would use the figure provided by the desktop valuation and there is no process to appeal this.  A re-mortgage desktop can be upgraded to a physical valuation (when they resume) but only if the customer confirms that they have had an extension or significant internal improvements. Examples of significant internal improvements would be anything that adds square footage to the property, for example a loft or garage conversion.

 

19. Can the customer see a copy of the desktop valuation?

a.       No.  A desktop valuation is for the Bank’s purposes only to enable us to confirm that the property is acceptable security for the mortgage.

 

Employed Customers income

How do we treat customers employed income?

 

1.       The customer’s employed income has changed permanently or temporarily AND/OR they are now on the Government scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), how do we assess?

a.       We will use the customer’s new revised income for affordability assessment and you will need to provide evidence of the customer’s new income.

 

Evidence required

b.      Our normal policy for Employed income proofs will remain the same.

c.       All evidence must be captured as per current process.

d.      In addition where the customers income is being supported be the Government scheme we require a letter from employer to confirm that you are a furloughed worker (an employee that has been asked to stop working but has been kept on the payroll, this is to safeguard workers from being made redundant) and your income will be X.

 

2.       The customer’s basic salary is reducing (and not being replaced by the Government scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), how do we assess?

a.       We will use the customer’s new revised income for affordability assessment and you will need to provide evidence of the customer’s new income.

 

Evidence required

b.      Our normal policy for Employed income proofs will remain the same.

c.       All evidence must be captured as per current process.

d.      A letter from the customer’s employer confirming what their new income will be where the most recent payslip does not confirm the revised salary.

 

3.       Other elements of the customers employed income are reducing e.g. Overtime, Bonus and Commission (and not being replaced by the Government scheme, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), how do we assess?

a.       We will use the customer’s new revised income for affordability assessment.

b.      Where it is certain or highly likely that one or more elements of the customer’s income will stop or reduce then this cannot be used for an affordability assessment.

 

Evidence required

c.       Our normal policy for Employed income proofs will remain the same.

d.      All evidence must be captured as per current process.

 

4.       The customer has had a temporary change to their income, for example:

·         Increase in over time

·         Temporary change to employment

·         Use of savings and family support

·         Temporary increase in any benefits

(This is not an exhaustive list)

 

a.       You must not include any temporary income when assessing affordability as per current guidance.

 

5.       The customer has sick pay recorded on payslips AND it relates to COVID-19, how do we assess?

a.       You can continue with the customer’s application as long as their current income meets our affordability criteria.  Please provide an explanation for the period of sickness.  If it is uncertain how long sick pay will continue being paid then speak to your BDM as we may not be able to help the customer until they have returned to work.

 

Evidence required

b.      All income evidence must be captured as per current process.

c.       Please continue to document details relating to sick pay.

 

For all other income queries please refer to our Acceptable Income Types document

 

http://www.intermediary.natwest.com/intermediary-solutions/forms-guides.html

 

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