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NatWest Group announces new package of cost of living support measures

NatWest Group announces new round of support for personal and business customers and wider communities

  • ~£40m cost of living support provided to personal customers and community partners over the last year, including new £5.7m hardship funding to provide support through partner organisations the Federation of Small Businesses, the Trussell Trust and Responsible Finance.
  • Extends repayment period for unsecured debt where customers have missed several payments.
  • Announces new cashback offer for Business customers on fuel and EV charging spend.

 

The continued pressures of cost of living and inflation are impacting people, families and businesses around the UK. Inflation reached a 40-year high of 11.1% in late 2022, affecting the affordability of goods and services for the public and squeezing household budgets, and applying significant pressure on margins for businesses. Although the bank is yet to see any significant signs of stress, some behaviours are starting to change with certain customers, for instance, cutting back on food and fuel consumption. Understandably, it is the lowest earners who continue to be the most impacted at this time, with more than 1m now spending 10%+ of their income on fuel or 30%+ of their income on groceries (or both)[1]. However, savings within this group remain up 25% on pre-COVID levels and they are reducing spending in other areas, such as shopping and entertainment.

Following consultation with its personal and business customers, charities and strategic partners, NatWest is today announcing a further package of support measures to help with the rising cost of living and inflation.

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 1 in 3 business customers telling the bank that reduced banking fees would help them deal with ongoing pressures[2], 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 offer, from November last year, on its payment service Tyl, free card machine hire for 6 months for all new customers.

The Bank is also providing a further £5.7m 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 and businesses. 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, £1million partnership with the 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 £27.4million of support that NatWest offered to personal customers in 2022, with £22.6milion 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 said:

"Our partnership with NatWest comes at a critical point in history as small businesses and the self-employed navigate the cost-of-living crisis.

"The partnership will provide 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."

 

Theodora Hadjimichael, Chief Executive of Responsible Finance, said:

"The cost of living crisis is pushing millions of people whose circumstances mean they can’t borrow from mainstream lenders towards loan sharks and very high interest lenders. Affordable, fair credit has never been more needed, and Responsible Finance providers improve their customers’ financial resilience, not only with credit but by helping them strengthen their finances even if they cannot offer them a loan.
 
"Community development finance institutions’ (CDFIs’) customers typically borrow around £500 or less and make small amounts of money go a long way. Our members will ensure this welcome support from NatWest goes where it is most needed to help more people improve their financial resilience.”

 

Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust, said:

“The generous contribution to our work from the NatWest Group will support the Help through Hardship helpline and equivalent projects across the UK. This will help us improve access to advice and support people affected by poverty and the cost of living crisis. We are very grateful to the team at the Natwest Group for this opportunity. Thank you so much.”

 

To support its own people through the Cost of Living challenges, NatWest Group also made a one-off cash payment of £1,000 to 59,000 colleagues in January, and has committed to a minimum pay rise of £2,000 from April this year for the majority of colleagues. This builds on an initial pay rise of 4% that was given to 22,000 staff in 2022.

 

[1] Natwest Group Cost of Living Spotlight Research, November 2022

[2] Natwest Group Cost of Living Spotlight Research, November 2022

 

Disclaimer:

This is for media use and not a financial promotion.

 

Information about business credit card cashback -

 

1% paid on NatWest/Royal Bank Business Credit Card, and 3% paid on NatWest/Royal Bank Business Plus Credit Card

 

Product fees may apply. To apply you must be a UK resident aged 18 or over and maintain a business bank account in the same legal entity name with {Royal Bank of Scotland / NatWest}.  Your registered business address must also be in the UK and you should be registered for tax purposes in the UK. Subject to status, business use only. The Business credit card is only available to customers with a turnover up to £2m. You can find out which merchant categories are eligible for cashback under the “fuel” spend on the cashback information sheet. To check if a merchant you use qualifies, please see our merchant checker tool. Visit our website from 14 Feb 23 for full details.

 

 

Information about freezing business current account feesView information on business current accounts.

 

Business Current Account – available to eligible customers, over 18 who have the right to be self-employed in the UK

 

Information about Tyl and fees on its payment service ­- Free card machine hire offer for 6 months is applicable for New Tyl by NatWest customers only, if you sign up by 30 April 2023.  Minimum 12-month contract.  After 6 months standard hire fees per device apply.  Early cancellation fees may apply. Other additional charges apply which will be discussed as part of your personalised quote.

 

 

Click below for more information and guidance on support you could receive to help with the rising cost of living in the UK:

Personal customers

NatWest - cost of living help

Royal Bank of Scotland - cost of living help

Ulster Bank - cost of living help

 

Business customers

NatWest – cost of living help

Royal Bank of Scotland – cost of living help

Ulster Bank – cost of living help

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