Prime Rate

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Federal and State Banking Agencies Do Their Part to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

Today, Fed Governors, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration and other banking agencies have together released a statement urging insured depository institutions (i.e. banks, credit unions, savings & loan, etc.) to implement temporary measures that will make life a little easier for hurricane-affected banking customers. Details can be found below in the following snippet from today's press release:

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision (the agencies), and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors are asking insured depository institutions to consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers' and credit union members' cash and financial needs in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The agencies are working with state regulatory agencies, financial industry trade groups, and affected financial institutions to identify customer needs and monitor institutions' restoration of services.

The agencies remind the public that deposit insurance is in full force and that money in FDIC- or NCUA-insured accounts is protected by federal deposit insurance. The agencies also note that a priority is to provide customer access to deposit accounts and other financial assets. Many financial institutions are implementing contingency plans, including procedures for consumers to have access to ATMs and use of their debit cards.

The financial services community through its various trade associations is working together to assist affected institutions. The agencies encourage financial institutions to assist affected institutions and consider all reasonable and prudent actions that could help meet the critical financial needs of their customers and their communities. To the extent consistent with safe and sound banking practices, such actions may include:

  • Waiving ATM fees for customers and non-customers

  • Increasing ATM daily cash withdrawal limits

  • Easing restrictions on cashing out-of-state and non-customer checks

  • Waiving overdraft fees as a result of paycheck interruption

  • Waiving early withdrawal penalties on time deposits

  • Waiving availability restrictions on insurance checks

  • Allowing loan customers to defer or skip some payments

  • Waiving late fees for credit card and other loan balances due to interruption of mail and/or billing statements or the customer's inability to access funds

  • Easing credit card limits and credit terms for new loans

  • Delaying delinquency notices to the credit bureaus

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