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COVID-19: Handling customer expectations

26 Mar 20

The GFSC is maintaining a watching brief of the developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic so that we can respond appropriately. We remain in regular contact with firms and are monitoring how operations and customer expectations are being managed. 

We are keeping up to date on announcements issued by European and International supervisory bodies, and are in turn applying measures to ensure regulated businesses are able to continue operating and consumers remain protected at this time. 

Updated guidance will continue to be published on the GFSC website and we recommend that consumers take note of the advice set out below. 

Information for firms

Our regular contact with firms has highlighted the pressure and difficulty consumers may be faced with during this time. We are asking firms to show understanding and demonstrate flexibility in these circumstances.

Firms should endeavour to continue to provide uninterrupted services to clients during this period.  We expect firms to consider the needs of their customers and provide timely and clear information to them about their contingency plans, including how the firm will continue to provide services to their customers, and any specific additional measures put in place to deal with their exceptional circumstances.  

Firms should ensure that they continue to treat customers fairly and be reasonable and professional in their dealings with them. Customer needs and circumstances may change over time and firms should recognise this and aim to continue to provide critical services. 

Information for consumers

Customer Service

We are aware that some consumers may be put under additional financial pressure as a result of the Covid-19 preventative measures. , If you are experiencing financial difficulties, you should contact your bank, credit provider, mortgage provider or other financial services provider as soon as possible and explain your situation.  By contacting them you will be able to explore options they may have available that could help you out during these difficult times. Contact details of firms can be found on our Regulated Entities Register.

Banking Services 

We are in frequent contact with the banks in Gibraltar and support the changes they have made to their operating models to take into account the challenges both personal and business clients might face during this time. 

In order to contain the spread of the virus, customer counters and banking halls have temporarily closed.   Digital and online banking services however continue to remain available and you should still be able to contact your bank by phone.   You should also be able to make full use of ATMs and cash machines.  

Services in relation to mortgages and loans are still operational via email, as are other related services including card renewals.  Please be aware that the current conditions may increase the level of queries firms are dealing with at this time.  This may result in a corresponding increase in the waiting time you experience for your query to be dealt with and we would request that you remain patient.

Specific information on individual contingency arrangements and useful contact information can be found below:

Gibraltar International Bank

Royal Bank of Scotland International (trading as Natwest)

Jyske Bank (Gibraltar) – Press Release 12 March 2020

Jyske Bank (Gibraltar) – Press Release 20 March 2020

Turicum Private Bank

If your bank is not listed above please contact them directly. Contact details of firms can be found on our Regulated Entities Register.

Insurance

It is vital to note that insurance cover differs from policy to policy. Please contact your insurance provider via telephone or email if you have any concerns regarding your cover during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your insurance company should be able to provide you with clear information about any exclusions to your cover.  Contact information for insurance companies can be found on our Regulated Entities Register. 

We also advise that you keep up to date on the latest travel advice from Public Health Gibraltar.

Scams

Be aware of potential scams during this time. Unfortunately there are some individuals who will use Covid19 as an opportunity and seek to entice consumers through various methods.  Apply caution when investing and keep the following points in mind:

  • Some scams may appear in the form of insurance policies and pension transfers related to COVID-19. 
  • Others may present themselves as investment opportunities, including those related to cryptoassets. 
  • Social media is a useful tool for scammers, essentially providing low-cost marketing. Be aware of adverts including paid and sponsored posts. 
  • Be wary of any emails from unknown senders and do not click on any links that may be provided. 
  • Scammers still practice cold calling. Never give out any of your personal detail

Always check whether a firm is licensed. You can do this by checking our Regulated Entities Register and visiting the Warnings page on the GFSC website.  Remember if it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Alternatively you can email us information@gfsc.gi or call us on +350 200 40283.  If you think you have been contacted by a scammer or think you have been the victim of fraud you should also contact the Royal Gibraltar Police +350 200 72500.