Our community is experiencing one of the most challenging periods in recent history. After London, the South East is one of the regions most affected by the spread of coronavirus.
To those reading this letter, our colleagues and customers may well be your neighbours, friends and family, and we want to make sure we are doing all we can to help make banking as straightforward and as supportive as possible to everyone in these difficult times. That means whether you’re young or old, hold a personal or a business account with us, that you can be sure we are working with local authorities, governments, regulators and other banks to ensure we are doing everything we can to help you.
As part of our efforts, NatWest customers who are over the age of 70 and those in isolation can now access a new dedicated support line. This has been set up so we can help those most in need and is open from 8am until 8pm, seven days a week. Those who need it can call us on NatWest: 0800 051 4176.
The current situation has made everyone fully appreciate the impact and pressure our NHS staff are experiencing. To help them help the most vulnerable in our society at this time, we have also introduced a dedicated customer care line for NHS and critical workers to help with emergency banking support such as lending assistance and lost and stolen cards. This line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and NHS and critical workers can reach it on 0800 046 2418.
We understand the challenges those affected by coronavirus might face and these could potentially include financial difficulty. As such, we want any customers who are affected to get in contact with us, to allow us to understand your individual situation and to see what we can do to help you.
We want to help. Every single one of us is here to support you.
We’re doing everything we can to keep our services running for customers. Our branch network remains open but following relevant public health guidance, we have reviewed our opening hours and are prioritising core opening hours from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm. Our colleagues in branches are working incredibly hard in difficult circumstances and we’re encouraging customers not to visit their local branch unless it’s critical and if they do, to practice safe social distancing.
This same guidance has forced us to make the difficult decision to pause our mobile fleet with immediate effect. But customers can continue to access their banking services through our other channels including digital, mobile, ATMs, video banker, telephony and Post Office – and we are proactively keeping customers aware of any changes that affect their local service through our website.
Local businesses lie at the heart of our community and many readers face the responsibility of looking after their company as well as their colleagues. To assist we have set aside a support fund of £5 billion of working capital support. We’re able to offer emergency fee free loans and overdrafts to relieve some of the pressure and through our consultants and relationship managers help offer advice and facilitate the support channels being offered by the Government and the Bank of England.
This is a rapidly changing situation and we are continuously reviewing the measures we have in place to make sure they are having the right impact.
We will also look for new ways of supporting our customers and will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders, including governments and local authorities, to find solutions to the problems we all face and to plan for a positive and proactive future