This guidance applies in the exceptional circumstances arising out of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its impact on the financial situation of consumer credit customers.
Following a short period for comments, we have finalised our guidance to firms on support to consumer credit customers who face payment difficulties due to coronavirus, and made a number of rule disapplications.
The guidance comes into force on 25 November 2020. But we encourage firms to consider how they can best support their customers at this time, and to follow this guidance earlier than 25 November where they are able to. This may help to limit the number of cases of customers dealt with since 31 October whose outcomes will need to be reviewed in line with paragraph 1.23 of the Payment Deferral guidance relating to Personal Loans (or the corresponding paragraphs in the other updated Credit Payment Deferral Guidance).
For the period 19 November 2020 to 25 November 2020, we encourage firms to act in line with this guidance, notwithstanding that the associated CONC 6 and 7 handbook rules which are subject to rule modifications are not yet technically in force.
We originally published guidance on consumer credit and coronavirus in April 2020 which was updated in July 2020. We published additional guidance for firms on 30 September 2020.
The Payment Deferral Guidance, which consists of five documents all listed above, will continue to provide support for those impacted by coronavirus until 31 July 2021 (with the exception of High-Cost Short-Term Credit), with consumers needing to apply by 31 March 2021.
The Tailored Support Guidance covers the support firms should provide to consumer credit customers who have come to the end of payment deferrals, as well as those whose financial situation may be affected by coronavirus after 31 March.
Consumer credit firms will be able to repossess goods and vehicles from 31 January 2021. However, this should only be as a last resort, and subject to complying with relevant government public health guidelines and regulations, for example on social distancing and shielding. Importantly, we expect firms to exercise particular care when dealing with vulnerable customers and carefully consider the potential impacts when deciding whether repossession of goods or vehicles is appropriate.
Given ongoing uncertainties arising from the impact of coronavirus, we will keep our position under review and will update or amend our guidance, or provide new guidance, if it is required.