Prudent Abbey outlines its arrears policy

A spokesperson for Abbey Mortgages said: "Abbey has a lower level of mortgage arrears than the CML average due to its ongoing responsible approach to lending and the quality of its mortgage book. However in the few cases that do unfortunately end up going into arrears, we have always seen repossession as a last resort. Even before the Government issued their recommendations our policy always was to try to contact the customer to agree an alternative repayment option and avoid their case going to court.

"However in line with the Government's recommendations, we are now taking this a step further. We have already invested in extra resource in this area to allow greater levels of proactive contact with every customer who goes into arrears - by phone as well as letter - to discuss their options. We also seek to review, as a matter of course, the repayment terms of every customer who goes into arrears to identify ways we can help them afford repayments. We are more leniant on customers with low levels of arrears - they will not be passed immediately into litigation. We also debit any fees associated with the litigation process at a later stage, to allow customers a chance to agree a repayment plan first and avoid paying these on top of what they already owe.

"In addition, we are in discussion with the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, a debt charity, to offer a free money advice service for people struggling with their mortgage repayments and we always encourage anyone in this position to also contact their lender as soon as possible."