Last updated: 27 March 2020 12:00
If you're concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your finances, we've put together a list of frequently asked questions together with essential information you may find useful at this challenging time. This page will be updated regularly as the situation develops.
I’m struggling to pay my mortgage – how can you help me?
If you’re experiencing mortgage payment difficulties, we ask that you contact us in the first instance on 0330 123 0773 to discuss your problem and see how we can help. We can try to arrange a new payment plan for you, taking your financial circumstances and our interests into account. You may also be able to request a time-limited mortgage payment holiday on the account.
Can I get a mortgage payment holiday?
Following the government’s statement on 17 March regarding mortgage payment holidays we have updated our approach to how we can offer this to our members affected by COVID-19. Affected borrowers who are up to date with their mortgage payments and seeking a mortgage payment holiday are asked to complete and return our self-certification request form by post or by email to email@example.com (we suggest using secure email where possible). Agreed arrangements will not be reported to credit reference agencies.
Borrowers who are already in a payment shortfall or arrears will need to contact us in the first instance to discuss the options available.
Should I cancel my Direct Debit?
No - under no circumstances should borrowers cancel their Direct Debit without speaking to us as this may affect your credit score. Please contact us in the first instance to arrange a mortgage payment holiday.
I'm in the process of buying or selling. What should I do?
The government issued guidance around this area on 26 March - outlined here.
Are you still offering mortgages?
Whilst we are still open for mortgage business, due to the operational challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic we have temporarily restricted our lending criteria and withdrawn a number of our mortgage products. Restrictions include:
- We are no longer accepting purchase applications - remortgages only
- Lending restricted to 75% LTV across all product ranges
- No flats
- No new build properties
- No properties above £1m
Are your branches still open and can I come in?
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society is experiencing staffing issues which affects the range of services we are able to provide. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close some of our locations on an alternating basis and operate our branch network on reduced hours. These changes will enable us to continue to provide as wide a service as possible for our members across Suffolk. Full details on the availability of our branch services can be found here. Agency opening hours can be found here.
We must also stress that our branches are open for essential transactions only and for the safety of our staff we ask that members consider whether they really need to physically visit one of our locations.
What do I do if my local branch is closed?
In the event your local branch is closed, either as part of our reduced branch service or unexpectedly, full details can be found here. In the event of an unexpected closure unfortunately we cannot always advise when a branch might re-open in advance. We will clearly signpost members to their nearest branch that remains open.
For those members who usually make their mortgage payments in branch, payments can also be made using a UK debit card by calling 01473 278150, or alternatively, if you would like to pay by bank transfer you can use the following details:
Sort code: 23-44-48
Account number: 00004000
Payment reference: [YOUR MORTGAGE ACCOUNT NUMBER]
How can I access my savings if I am unable to get to a branch?
If you are unwell, avoiding social contact or otherwise unable to come into a branch, you may be able to operate your account by telephone or post, or you can ask a third party to act on your behalf. Guidance on how to arrange third-party withdrawals can be found by contacting us on 0330 123 0723.
Can I access my savings early?
In line with most others in the banking sector, we have temporarily lifted restrictions on our fixed rate and notice savings accounts allowing members penalty free access to their funds. This may help those who need emergency back up funds during any lockdown period, or during self isolation. However, please note that funds withdrawn can not necessarily be reinvested at a later date - please refer to the product terms and conditions for more information about additonal investments.
Can I still attend my appointment in branch?
No - all appointments and other non-essential services are suspended at this time.
How can I protect myself from fraud?
Unfortunately, some criminals are using the COVID-19 pandemic to trick people into sharing personal or financial details. We remind all members to be extra vigilant and exercise caution, and to look out for those who may be in a vulnerable situation. Click here for more information on how to avoid scams.
Did you have your AGM this year?
Given the current situation, and being mindful of our legal obligation to hold our AGM, we took the decision to hold our AGM behind closed doors on Wednesday 25 March with members unable to attend. An audio recording of proceedings and full voting results can be found here.
How to stay in touch with us
General enquiries – 0330 123 0723
Mortgages – 0330 123 0773
General enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mortgages (new customers) – email@example.com
Mortgages (existing customers) – firstname.lastname@example.org
We are closely monitoring government advice and will be doing what we can to support our members during this challenging time. Our priority remains the safety of our employees, members and suppliers.