We at Northern Bank understand that customers may find themselves in financial difficulty for a wide variety of reasons. Northern Bank aims to help customers who may find themselves in financial difficulty and it is important that a customer who is in a position of financial difficulty seeks help as soon as possible.
What should you do?
- Don't ignore your debt problem – it could affect your credit rating. Companies can check your credit rating to see if you have a poor credit history whatever you want to borrow money for.
- Act fast - as soon as you think you may have a debt problem contact your creditors to negotiate your debt. For example they may lengthen the term of your debts to enable payments to be reduced. However creditors are not required to accept reduced payments, although they will be more likely to be receptive if you are trying to get on top of your debt problems. An escalation of the problem is in no-one's interest. Check whether your lender is a subscriber to the Lending Code. Lenders who, like Northern Bank, are subscribers to the Lending Code are committed to consider cases of financial difficulty sympathetically and positively. Contact your Northern Bank branch as soon as possible even if you are not in financial difficulty at the moment but think you may be soon.
- Avoid missing repayments - missing repayments can seriously damage your ability to get credit and you may end up being unable to buy goods on credit or get a loan in the future.
What we will do
We will deal with cases of financial difficulty sympathetically and positively.
If we assess that you may be in financial difficulty we will contact you at an early stage to discuss your problem, both in writing and, where possible, by phone, so that together we can agree how we can help you. It is important that you do not wait for us to contact you, you should contact us as soon as possible as you will probably be aware of the difficulties before us.
We will try to arrange a new payment plan with you taking your financial circumstances into account.
We will give you reasonable time to pay back any missing payments. If your loan is secured on your home we will only start repossession proceedings as a last resort when all other reasonable options have been exhausted.
We will give you details of organisations who can give you debt advice (for example, Business Link), and we will talk to them if you want us to.
We will support a rescue plan if we believe it will succeed.
How we might be able to help you
We may be able to change the interest rate you pay, the way you make your payments or the date you make them during the month.
We may allow you to pay back your loan over a longer period of time. Although this would reduce your monthly payments, it would increase the overall cost of the loan.
We may also allow you to pay reduced payments or just the interest payments for a period of time. Although this would reduce your monthly payments, it would increase the overall cost of the loan.
We would hope to be able to agree an appropriate arrangement with you. If we can do this we will explain how it would work and give you time to consider it. If we cannot offer any of these options, we will tell you why.
Other things to consider
It is important that you keep to the payment plan we agree with you, or tell us if there is a change in your circumstances which may affect the arrangement. If you do not make the agreed payments, we might have to resort to legal action to get back any money you owe us. This could include taking legal action to repossess your property.
Talk to a professional adviser, such as a debt counsellor or a lawyer, before you commit to any repayment plan so that you understand what you are agreeing to. We strongly advise that you seek independent, free, debt advice .
Costs and Expenses
If you are in arrears, we may charge you for reasonable costs and expenses. Please see our Fees and Service Charges Explained leaflet for further details.
How to complain
If you are not happy with any aspect of our service, please request a copy of our internal complaint handling procedures by contacting your branch. Our aim is to resolve complaints to the satisfaction of our customers. However if, having followed our published complaint procedures, you disagree with the final decision we have made, you can refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Details are available from us on request or from www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
If you are a Corporate Opt-out Customer you will not be able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. You can read more about our complaints procedure here.
It is important that you contact us as early as possible and remain in touch to give us the best opportunity to help you. Advise us as soon as possible if you move to a new address.
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Write to us
Other Useful contacts
British Bankers Association
The bba website has help and advice for SMEs.
A wide range of information and advice is available from the government for small businesses. Telephone 0845 600 9006 or visit www.businesslink.gov.uk
Business Debtline offers debt advice for self employed people. Telephone 0800 197 6026 or visit www.bdl.org.uk
Citizens Advice Bureau
To find the phone number of your local bureau, look in the phone book, visit your local library or information centre, or use the website www.citizensadvice.org.uk
The Insolvency Service
The Insolvency Service has information on a wide range of topics including bankruptcy, liquidation and insolvency. Telephone 028 902 51441 or go to the DETI Insolvency Service website.
Financial Services Authority
This organisation regulates the financial services industry in the UK. It can offer impartial help and advice to consumers (including SMEs) on all money matters.
Visit the Financial Services Authority website or try their Consumer Helpline on 0845 6061234, between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays), or Typetalk 18001 0845 6061234.
Call charges may vary. Please refer to your service provider.