NatWest announces new cost of living support measures for customers and communities

NatWest announces new cost of living support measures for customers and communities

Royal Bank of Scotland owner NatWest has announced a new cost of living support package for personal customers and community partners.

For personal customers, the bank is committed to supporting those in financial difficulty with interventions designed to create breathing space and alleviate pressure.

From early February this year, where customers have missed several payments on an unsecured debt such as a loan or overdraft, the bank will extend the time for them to repay their debt from 18 to 24 months, giving them more time and flexibility.

With one in three business customers telling the bank that reduced banking fees would help them deal with ongoing pressures, NatWest Group is launching fuel and EV charging cashback on its business credit cards to help offset the cost of doing business. This will pay between 1% and 3% cashback on credit card spend in these categories every month to businesses, from 14 February.

This builds on the commitment the bank made in August last year to freeze all Business current account fees and tariffs for a minimum of 12 months, and to waive fees on its payments service Tyl for all new customers for six months, from November last year.

The bank is also providing a further £5.7 million of hardship funding to charities and partners, including £1m to the Trussell Trust to further support the Help Through Hardship scheme; over £1.6m to the debt advice sector; and £900k for Responsible Finance to support provision of accessible credit to people. It has also committed further funding to its regional boards to be disbursed locally to smaller charities and organisations. This latest round of support builds on the £4m of support announced last year.

This new funding includes a new, £1m partnership with Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). FSB will provide NatWest Group business customers with access to independent support and education to help with the Cost of Living crisis via webinars, and 1-2-1 support over telephone and webchat. The support available will cover areas such as readying your business for funding and managing late payments.

These new measures are in addition to £27.4m of support that NatWest offered to personal customers in 2022, with £22.6m of that provided through measures such as debt consolidation and fee capping.

Alison Rose, chief executive, NatWest Group, said: “We are committed to listening to our customers and partners to understand where they face the most significant challenges, in turn delivering tailored support that provides help where it is needed most. Over the past year, including today’s new funding, we’ve provided around £40m of cost-of-living support to our personal customers and community partners.

“Whilst we are not yet seeing significant increases in defaults or people in arrears, this new package of funding and measures is designed to provide on the ground support to communities, breathing space for customers in difficulty and cashback to businesses to offset continued high energy and fuel costs.

“We know that everyone’s situation is unique, and I encourage customers who are facing difficulty to get in touch with us at the first available opportunity, where one of our highly trained colleagues will be ready to discuss all the options available to help them through this challenging period.”

FSB National chair Martin McTague, added: “Our partnership with NatWest comes at a critical point in history as small businesses and the self-employed navigate the cost-of-living crisis.

“Our members will have access to independent support and education through webinars and 1-2-1 advice over telephone and webchat. This will cover a range of topics - from readying your business for funding to managing the ongoing late payment crisis.”

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