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UK credit agencies reassure companies over pandemic loan freezes

LONDON (Reuters) - Loan payment freezes negotiated by companies with their banks during the pandemic should not damage their credit rating, credit reference agencies in Britain said on Wednesday.

Experian, Creditsafe, Dun and Bradstreet, and Equifax set out guidance on Wednesday to protect business credit scores during the coronavirus lockdown.

The government and regulators want banks to offer loan repayment freezes to companies struggling to stay afloat as millions of people are furloughed or forced to claim welfare benefits and a deep recession looms.

“Once agreed, lenders should not report a build-up of arrears to the four designated credit reference agencies... ensuring business credit scores are protected from this forbearance during the agreed timeframe,” Experian said in a statement.

The Financial Conduct Authority has said that temporary payment freezes should not damage credit scores.

Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Larry King

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