(Bloomberg) -- Lloyds Banking Group Plc is stepping up help for struggling customers, including mortgage relief, during the UK’s heightened economic stress, according to Chief Executive Officer Charlie Nunn.
The bank is talking to British regulators about lengthening the terms of some mortgages as well as moving some customers to interest-only loans or lower-cost products as they adjust to the soaring cost of living, Nunn said at the FT Global Banking Summit on Tuesday.
“We actually just launched some products for those that we thought were most impacted, which were just lower-cost mortgages for customers that we knew were going to struggle,” he said.
The bank has been working on these plans for three to four months as inflation in the UK reached a four-decade high, but sped up its efforts after the mini-budget in September, Nunn said. The government’s now-abandoned package of unfunded tax cuts sent a tremor through global markets and sent the cost of new mortgages soaring.
“There is nervousness at the moment about the UK overall” among global investors, Nunn said, noting that 30% of Lloyds’ shareholders are based in North America. Still, he said he supported the government’s Financial Services and Markets Bill that will ease some regulations such as investment curbs for insurance firms.
“I think that’s really important at the macro level for how we think about the banking sector and the financial services sector, because that hasn’t been the focus for the last decade,” said Nunn.
Speaking at the same conference, Andrew Griffith, the City Minister, said the UK should use its strength in fintech to explore new technologies. “We see big opportunities in fiat-backed stable coins,” Griffith said.
Britain should not diverge from European Union rules for the sake of it, he added. But the new bill does present opportunities to boost the UK’s competitiveness, Griffith said.
The minister is in the final stages of compiling a list of City of London reforms aimed at boosting post-Brexit London as a place for international listings and as a hub for financial services.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.