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Countrywide confirms phased branch reopenings and £60m cash in bank

Company says its priorities are to protect staff and customers but also conserve cash as it cautiously re-opens its business and accelerates use of virtual viewings.

Nigel Lewis

Countrywide has confirmed that it has begun a phased re-opening of its business including branches and face-to-face valuation visits to properties, and that it has £60 million set aside to weather the crisis.

The company has also confirmed that it is still in talks with HMRC to find out if it can access funds via the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to ‘improve its liquidity’.

Countrywide has also revealed more details of how it is coping with the pandemic, including its continuing to rely heavily on web-chat and telephony to keep in contact with customers and that it has accelerated the roll out of virtual viewings. It is also now offering its customers online mortgage advice.

“This way of working is resonating well with our colleagues and customers who are appreciative of this multi-channel choice of engagement, providing support and advice whilst allowing everyone to stay safe,” the company says.

As we reported last week, Countrywide has taken a cautious approach to re-opening its business and has been busy undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment of its operations since the government announced the reopening of the property market on 12th May.

“We continue to actively monitor the effect of the COVID-19 situation,” the company says.

“The Board’s priority remains the safety of our colleagues and customers; to provide essential services to our customers; to preserve and protect the future of the business for our people; and to conserve cash and to manage the Group through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst the housing market in England was re-opened on 13 May, it is too early to assess the impact on housing transactions, and the Group is therefore unable to provide guidance on future profitability.”

May 21, 2020

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