As residents across the Northeast woke up to assess the damage from Superstorm Sandy, many banks faced challenges in their own operations. From customers who will not be able to make on-time payments to institutions with closed bank branches, the banking industry is feeling the impact of the storm.
Regulators took a proactive approach, offering leniency and advice to financial institutions impacted by the storm. In a joint statement from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the FDIC, government agencies urged banks to "work constructively with borrowers in communities affected by (Superstorm) Sandy." Additionally, the agencies advised bankers to pay close attention to investments that may be negatively impacted by the storm, such as municipal securities.
As flooding impacted the ability for branches to open for regular business hours, regulators also recognized that some institutions may be in need of temporary banking facilities in order to offer service to their customers.
Banks join relief efforts
As banks and their customers dig out from the disaster, the banking industry continues to help customers by waiving bank fees and excusing late payments. Wells Fargo is taking an additional step and lending a hand to Red Cross efforts. Yesterday, the California-based bank announced plans to donate $1 million to relief efforts. Additionally, Wells Fargo account holders can make donations via the bank's ATMs.
Has your community been affected by the storm? How is your bank handling the situation? Have you been able to contact your institution?