UK high street banks are offering payment holidays and other support to business and residential customers who are in difficulty because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The move from the UK banks came on the same day that Italy’s government said payments on residential mortgages will be suspended for the whole country after a national quarantine lockdown was imposed.
Analysts noted that the proportion of mortgage payers in Italy is relatively small with the UK and many other parts of the Eurozone.
The UK has the seventh-highest proportion of property-owning mortgage payers in Europe, behind the likes of Holland, Sweden and Belgium, but higher than France, Spain and Germany.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (LON:RBS) said that it will offer mortgage payment holidays of up to three months to residential customers, as well as giving refunds on credit card cash advance fees and providing temporary increases to credit card limits.
This came a day after RBS, which is soon to change its name to Natwest Group PLC, said it was putting aside £5bn to cover emergency loans and scrapped borrowing fees for small businesses under strain because of the spread of Covid-19.
Barclays said it was “ready to help, whether that's with managing cash-flow or any other support, and we encourage any customer who needs guidance to call us or contact their relationship manager”.
A spokeswoman for RBS said: “We are monitoring the potential impact of coronavirus across all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption.”