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Banks help Irene victims

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

In the wake of Hurricane Irene, two of America's biggest banks are providing some short-term assistance for account holders.

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo both notified customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut via email that certain bank fees will be waived as affected areas recover from the natural disaster. The fee-free period for impacted Wells Fargo customers lasts through Friday, Sept. 2, while Chase is extending their help through Sunday, Sept. 4.

Here are the details:

ATM Fees -- If your town is dealing with severe flooding, getting to your bank's approved ATM machine may be impossible. To provide some small sense of relief, customers at both of these banks will not be subject to typical out-of-network ATM charges. However, representatives at both banks explained that the owner of the machine can still charge the standard fee.

CD Withdrawal Penalties -- Both banks are also waiving early CD withdrawal penalties this week. Typical CD withdrawal penalties can be quite hefty, so this is good news for account holders who need immediate access to funds to begin paying for property repairs.

Chase is offering a few additional types of assistance, too, including waiving overdraft fees and excusing credit card holders for late payments. The bank also announced a Red Cross donation for the cleanup efforts.

While these two institutions have made plenty of headlines with rising fees, it's reassuring to see them lending a hand and excusing these traditional bank fees. Sure, a week isn't a long time, but taking an extra step to ensure that account holders have convenient and low-cost access to their funds in a serious time of need earns these banks some brownie points in my book.

For any reader who has been impacted by the severe flooding in the Northeast, has your bank informed you of any efforts to help make your life easier? Or are there any additional measures that would prove more helpful right now?

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