Northern Rock commits to six month grace period

Northern Rock has joined Royal Bank of Scotland in committing to a six month grace period for borrowers in arrears.

The nationalised lender will now wait six months before pursuing repossession.

It says that its existing debt management process involves working with each customer to try and agree a debt management solution and that repossessing property is a last resort and, on average, occurs 15 months from the time that the borrower first fell into arrears.

Northern Rock says that less than 1% of repossession cases currently involve the company working with customers for a period of less than six months from the point they first fell into arrears.

Gary Hoffman, chief executive of Northern Rock, says: “We continue to work with customers facing repayment difficulties to try and agree an acceptable debt management solution and avoid repossession.

“In the vast majority of cases, where repossession regrettably does take place, we have been working with the customer for well over six months. We will now formalise our policy and agree not to repossess a property for a period of at least six months from the point of arrears.”