mortgage payment holidays
mortgage payment holidaysReuters

The Royal Bank of Scotland has granted its customers mortgage payment holidays, as well as £250m in the form of a UK Storm Business Fund, to help them battle the damage from the UK floods crisis.

In a statement, RBS said it will offer support to those affected by the mass flooding and that its customers will be able to apply for a three month mortgage repayment holiday.

RBS added that the bank will send specialist business support teams to affected areas in the coming weeks to help SMEs with short term financial problems as they conduct urgent repair work and deal with loss of trading income.

"Thousands of families and businesses will battle short-term financial difficulties as they work to recover from the floods. RBS will stand by our customers and help them in any way we can," said Ross McEwan, chief executive at RBS.

"I hope the steps we are taking will make a meaningful difference to the communities that are working so hard to manage through the floods and then recover from them."

RBS launched the UK Storm Business Fund last month that is available to customers and non-RBS customers, which can provide short-term, interest-free financing to help speed recovery for businesses affected by recent floods and gales.

According to a recent report by Andy McKenzie, a groundwater scientist at the British Geological Survey, around 1.6 million properties across Britain are now at risk of groundwater flooding.

He added to Sky News that that there is no end in sight of the damage as, even if the rain stopped today, o much water is soaking through the soil that levels are likely to keep rising for another two months.

On 10 February, McEwan tried to mitigate some of the reputational damage, caused by a flurry of mis-selling, market rigging, and IT scandals, by pledging to put customers first.

"In the last five years, much has been done to defuse the bank's legacy of excess, to clean up the culture and build a strong, stable platform for the bank. But I am acutely aware that there is still much more to do," said McEwan in ha self-penned Guardian article.

"RBS cannot start to claim to be a bank that always treats people fairly unless we stop doing those things that erode trust. We cannot start to claim we are renewing the bank unless we stop shirking our responsibilities to our shareholders – principally the British taxpayer.

"The lessons from the past are clear. In the rush for growth and profit, RBS forgot what banking is about. The bank valued least the people it should have valued most: its customers.

"Words are easy. Real change is much harder. Given the events of the last few years I understand why scepticism and suspicion run deep. My strategy for the bank, which I will spell out in detail later this month, will start to address the complexities and operational issues of a bank this size. But the customer will be at its core."