MAJOR STATE BANKS AGREE TO WAIVE CONSUMER FEES IN AFTERMATH OF SANDY
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that several major state-chartered banks have agreed to waive a number of fees and penalties in response to the impact on consumers by Storm Sandy. State-chartered banks that will drop the fees include M&T Bank, Apple Savings, Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, Emigrant Savings Bank and New York Community Bank.
“Thousands of New Yorkers’ lives have been disrupted by the storm – including their usual financial obligations and activities,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a result, some people may have late payments or be forced to incur other bank fees and penalties. For example, they may not be able to avoid ATM fees if they can’t find a working ATM from their own bank. To help New Yorkers, major state-chartered banks have agreed to drop fees and penalties so consumers won’t have this additional cost. I call on any state or federal chartered banks that have not yet waived fees to follow suit.”
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said, “Many state chartered banks are community banks with close ties to the areas they serve, so it is not surprising that many are willing to support consumers and local businesses in this difficult time. This is a standard I hope all our banks will follow.”
Details may vary from bank to bank and consumers should contact their individual bank for specifics. In general, banks have agreed to temporarily waive the following fees and penalties at least until November 15, and in some cases longer:
· ATM fees
· Late payment charges
· Penalties for checks returned because of insufficient funds
· Overdraft protection transfer fees
· Penalties for early withdrawal of savings in circumstances where the customer has a demonstrable need for the funds resulting from the disaster
Superintendent Lawsky also urged banks to work with depositors or borrowers who have been affected by the disaster. Banks should consider reassessing the current credit needs of communities to help meet those needs by making or participating in sound loans. They should also consider a prudent restructuring of an affected borrower’s debt obligations, by altering or adjusting payment terms.
“Local banks can play a major role in helping our communities recover, as they have played a major role in their growth before the storm,” Superintendent Lawsky said.
Financial institutions seeking additional guidance for assisting customers affected by the impact of Storm Sandy are urged to contact the Department’s Albany office at 518-473-6160.