28th July, 2021

In the current economic and social scenario resulting from the COVID19 pandemic, and as the end of some of the support mechanisms for families and companies promoted by the Portuguese banking sector over the last year and a half approaches, the APB and its members find it useful to disclose the set of principles and good practices followed and to be followed in the relationship with individual banking clients in financial distress due to loans contracted in the banking sector.

"We have realised, through the anxiety publicly voiced by some people, that, at the end of the moratoria period, the financial difficulties in which some families might still find themselves might not be duly and fairly addressed by the creditor banks. Because such anxiety is unjustified, and to appease it, we decided to recall and publicise the set of principles and good practices followed by our members, even before the pandemic, and which they will continue to observe even after the economic and social effects of the current crisis have been overcome", explains the Chairman of the APB, Vítor Bento.

The paper “Good practices in the relationship of banks with individuals in financial distress thus aims to make it clear to bank customers and the general public that banks are committed to providing adequate treatment and assistance to customers facing such difficulties and are prepared to give an appropriate response to the challenges that the discontinuation of the moratoria will pose some of them who have been benefiting from them in recent months. 

Among the principles and rules set out in this paper, the following stand out, among others: the adoption of procedures to detect signs of customers’ financial distress; the provision of clear and precise information about their rights to customers identified as being in financial distress; presentation of proposed solutions considered appropriate to the customer's financial situation, objectives and interests with a view to preventing or regularising situations of default.