The Cumberland Building Society has today outlined additional support for customers facing financial difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, including new help for business current account customers.
The building society has deferred and waived business current account charges as part of a wider package of support for business customers. The building society has already agreed payment holidays for over 900 of its commercial mortgage holders, accounting for over £250 million of mortgages across the hospitality, tourism and holiday let sectors.
Business current account customers will have their monthly and transactional fees from January to March 2020 deferred for three months, and monthly fees for April to June 2020 will be waived, although transactional fees will stand. All customers have been notified of this support and don’t need to get in touch for the changes to apply.
This additional support, which will potentially benefit thousands of businesses across the region, follows on the back of a major operation to help commercial mortgage customers who have been feeling the impact of coronavirus and the lockdown.
The Cumberland, which specialises in hospitality sector mortgages, believes that many more businesses will be looking for financial support in the coming months.
Simon Whitwham, Head of Commercial for The Cumberland, said the building society had worked ‘flat out’ to ensure it could help businesses before they were due to make payments at the end of March.
The Cumberland reorganised its teams to focus on helping businesses early last month as coronavirus began to send shockwaves through the sector, shifting staff from other departments to deal with a huge volume of calls.
“We were working flat out to try and help the customers as well as providing as much information as possible on our web pages to show where businesses could get support,” Mr Whitwham said.
“The businesses we speak to are deeply concerned about the impact this is having and how long it might continue. The Government is doing a lot to help with small business rate relief, furloughing staff and other measures, but income has been wiped out.”
One business that has been grateful for the help is the Squirrel Lodge guest house in Keswick.
Owner, Ben Goodman, said: “Obviously the lockdown has hit us hard, but the help we’ve received along with the Government grant for the hospitality industry has taken the pressure off for now
“We had a follow-up call from Grant Seaton at The Cumberland which was a nice touch and helped us plan how we are going to 'potentially' get through this."
The Cumberland’s chief executive, Des Moore, said: “One of our top priorities during this crisis is to ensure we are supporting our customers who are facing financial difficulties.
“The business support package we have announced should help provide some breathing space for our customers, and our team will continue to work with them to provide whatever support we can during this unprecedented period.”