Empathy bootcamp? UK banks seek payback on $105 bln COVID loans

Pound notes and coins are seen inside a cash register in a bar in Manchester, Britain September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

  • Over $100 billion of state-backed loans coming due
  • Burned by 2008, Britain’s banks hope to burnish reputations
  • Some small firms complain of abrupt repayment demands

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – As payback time approaches for more than 75 billion pounds ($104 billion) of emergency state-backed loans, Britain’s banks must tread a delicate path with businesses propped up during the pandemic.

Faced with trying to limit losses for themselves and taxpayers but also avoid a repeat of the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when banks were vilified and forced to pay millions of pounds in redress for heavy handed debt repayment tactics, lenders are pledging that this time will be different.

With the first COVID loan repayments now falling due, Britain’s four biggest banks have hired more than 750 debt collection experts between…

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