Together Financial Services Limited
20 July 2020
Together Financial Services Limited ('Together' or, with its subsidiaries, 'the Group'), one of the UK's leading specialist mortgage and secured loan providers, today provides an update on Covid-19, funding and the future shape of the business.
Covid-19 and funding update
Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on supporting our customers, protecting and enabling our people and enhancing the future resilience of our business. In line with government guidance, we have supported our customers who find themselves in financial difficulty by providing Covid-19-related mortgage payment holidays and other appropriate forbearance. Payment deferrals peaked at around 22% of our Group customers by value. This level had reduced to around 16% of Group customers as at 16th July 2020.
As initial payment deferrals' periods approach their end date, we are proactively contacting customers to understand their circumstances and any further support they may require. While the government has extended the final date for payment deferral requests to 31st October 2020, early responses indicate that around 70% of the customers we have contacted expect to return to making full or partial payments when their deferral period ends. We believe this is in line with wider industry estimates across the UK.
Following the start of the UK-wide lockdown on 23rd March, we announced that we were taking a number of prudent steps as we prioritised supporting our existing customers, including temporarily pausing accepting new loan applications and reviewing applications in our existing pipeline against revised criteria. During the lockdown period we have funded a total of around £90m of lending from our revised pipeline and we continue to prudently increase lending in line with tighter criteria and a reassessment of customer circumstances.
On 16th July, Together successfully priced the latest and largest issuance in its residential mortgage backed securitisation ('RMBS') programme, the £370m Together Asset Backed Securitisation 2020 - 1 PLC ( TABS 4 '). The issuance, which has an effective advance rate of 92% and a principal aggregate balance of £366m1, received strong support from investors. TABS 4 is supported by a portfolio of 1st and 2nd charge owner-occupied and buy-to-let residential mortgages, secured against properties in England, Wales and Scotland, and refinances assets forming part of the Group's AA rated £1.25bn Charles Street facility (' CABS '). BNP Paribas and HSBC acted as Arrangers and Joint Lead Manager accompanied by Barclays and Natixis as Joint Lead Managers.
On completion of the TABS 4 transaction, Together's facility headroom is expected to increase to around £770m.
Shaping the business for the future
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact on economies across the globe and has created significant uncertainty around the nature and extent of any downturn. Many economists are predicting a deep and sustained global recession and, combined with the planned exit from the government's furlough and mortgage payment deferral schemes at the end of October 2020, this is expected to have an impact on property activity, unemployment and economic growth within the UK.
Against this backdrop, while we are cautiously increasing lending volumes it is unlikely we will resume our pre-Covid-19 activity levels for some time. At the same time we are accelerating some of our modernisation and transformation programmes, including further use of digitalisation and enhanced automation to provide additional processing efficiencies and improve the journey for our customers. In light of these developments and to ensure that our cost base remains appropriate, we have launched an employee consultation process on proposals to reduce colleague numbers by around 200 reflecting the anticipated future shape of our business.
Gerald Grimes, Group CEO Designate of Together, commented:
"While it remains too early to reliably estimate the full impact of Covid-19, we expect the remainder of 2020 and possibly 2021 to be challenging for most businesses. Together entered the pandemic in a strong position and, as we move out of lockdown, we are taking the necessary steps to shape our business for the future: putting plans in place to mitigate any downside risks; ensuring our cost base is appropriate; and accelerating our transformation programmes to make us more efficient and further improve the experience for our customers. With the actions we are taking, we believe Together will emerge from the crisis well placed to support our customers and to play our part in supporting the UK's economic recovery."
- Optional redemption date 17th June 2024
For further information:
|Together Financial Services|
|Mike Davies, Director of Corporate Affairs||07753 138 185|
Established in 1974, Together has been bringing common sense to the UK specialist lending market for over 45 years. Our expertise in lending means we can look beyond mainstream lending criteria to take an individual view of customers' needs and treat each application on its own merits.
We offer a wide range of specifically designed products, including short-term finance, auction finance, residential, buy-to-let and commercial mortgages and secured loans through our established distribution network.
In 2019, we placed 52nd in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work for and were also named in the Sunday Times Top Track 250 for the fourth time, placing 111th in the league table for growth and 4th for profitability. Together is the trading name of Together Financial Services Limited, which has its registered office address at Lake View, Lakeside, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 3GW.
This announcement may include projections and other "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Any such projections or statements reflect the current views of the Issuer about future events and financial performance. The use of any of the words "expect," "anticipate," "continue," "will," "project," "should," "believe," "plans," "intends" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking information or statements. Although Together believes that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward-looking statements and information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements and information because Together can give no assurance that such statements and information will prove to be correct. Since forward-looking statements and information address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Many factors may cause our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and the development of the industries in which we operate to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this announcements, including, but not limited to, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of economic conditions, impact of a downturn in the property market, our ability to identify the credit profile and behaviour of our customers, our ability to detect and prevent fraud, the impact of changing financial circumstances of our customers, relationships with mortgage intermediaries and other distribution channels, the impact of competition, legislative, taxation and regulatory changes affecting our ability to operate or the profit generated from our activities, the effectiveness of our compliance, Enterprise Risk Management Framework and internal audit functions, our exposure to costs of redress, potential regulatory sanctions and fines, the impact of limitation, interruption of our information processing systems and others. The forward-looking statements and information contained in this announcement are made as of the date hereof and Together undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.
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