Dealing with financial difficulties: our expectations of lenders

Find out how we expect lenders to treat you if you're struggling with your mortgage, loans or credit.

Remember:

  • talk to your lender (the organisation you owe money to) as soon as possible if you’re struggling to manage your finances
  • if you can afford to make some of your repayments, even if it’s a smaller amount than usual, you should do so
  • you shouldn't cancel or reduce payments until you’ve contacted your lender

The MoneyHelper Debt Advice Locator tool can help you find out where to access free debt advice near you.

MoneyHelper also has useful information on how to prioritise your debts

Tailored support

If you owe money on a mortgage, personal loan, overdraft or other form of credit, your lender should:

  • work with you to provide support before you miss payments (where you tell your lender that you are struggling, or may struggle, to make payments)
  • consider a range of short and longer-term options to support you – this could include temporarily making no payments or reduced payments
  • give you time to repay what you owe and not pressurise you into repaying your debt within an unreasonably short period of time 
  • direct you to debt help or money guidance, and liaise with a free-of-charge debt adviser when deciding what support may be appropriate
  • where appropriate, put in place an affordable repayment plan that considers your wider financial situation (including other debts and essential living expenses)
  • consider whether they should suspend, reduce or waive interest fees or charges

When assessing what options are right for you (including the amount you can afford to repay), your lender will take into account your personal and financial circumstances. 

If you need tailored support from your lender, this may be reflected on your credit file, as it would if you missed any payments. 

This will help make sure lenders have an accurate picture of your financial circumstances and reduce the risk of unaffordable lending.

Your lender should be clear about what this support could mean for your credit file.

Contacting your lender

Contact your lender as soon as possible if you’re finding it difficult to manage your finances. Contact details should be available on your lender’s website and on other communications with you.

If you have a general question for your lender, you can check their website first to see if the answer is available online.

Repossessions 

Your lender shouldn’t start repossession action unless all reasonable attempts to resolve the position have failed. But if you can’t agree a repayment plan, your lender may look to start court action to repossess your home.

Lenders may start repossession proceedings, seek a court hearing, and ask the court to grant an order for possession. 

In all cases, your lender should take extra care to consider if it’s appropriate to seek repossession, especially if you’re in particularly vulnerable circumstances.

If you’re facing repossession, find out where you can get free debt advice.

Consumers in vulnerable circumstances

Lenders should consider the needs and situation of customers in vulnerable circumstances. 

Circumstances that may cause you to become vulnerable include:

  • poor health (physical or mental)
  • low financial or emotional resilience
  • life events such as bereavement or divorce
  • low capability, including poor digital skills (such as your ability to communicate and make transactions online), language and cognitive skills, and low financial capability

If you think you’re in circumstances that mean you’re vulnerable, it’s important to let your lender know when you contact them, so they can work out how best to support you.

Page updates

28/07/2022: Information changed Page broadened to cover wider cost of living information
13/01/2022: Information changed Payment Deferral Guidance (PDG) for mortgages and credit has expired.
11/08/2021: Information changed Money Advice Service to MoneyHelper (including link update)
25/03/2021: Information added Updated information on tailored support, payment holidays and repossessions
07/12/2020: Information changed Updated information for 'Applying for payment.'
03/11/2020: Information added Reverted to revision from <em class="placeholder">Thu, 22/10/2020 - 07:46</em>.
22/10/2020: Information added Support available after 31 October
30/09/2020: Information added Information on how firms should help consumers when the current guidance ends
16/09/2020: Information added Update on how firms can support consumers

22/06/2020: Information added in highlight box on the next steps when these measures end.