By Kelli B. Grant
Irene did some serious destruction on her tour up the East Coast, but some banking customers won’t see extra damage in the form of account fees.
Chase will waive select fees for account holders in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York — the three Irene-affected states where it has branches — through Sept. 4. Until then, those customers won’t be held liable for using another bank’s ATM ($2), overdrawing their checking account ($34 per transaction, up to three per day), using overdraft protection ($12), or paying late on a credit card, business or consumer loan. (On a credit card, that saves up to $35.)
Wells Fargo will waive select fees for account holders in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York through Sept. 2. Consumers won’t pay for using another bank’s ATM ($3) or making an early withdrawal from a certificate of deposit (a minimum $25). A spokeswoman says customers with further hardship can call customer service for other assistance on a case-by-case basis.
HSBC says it is offering assistance on a case-by-case basis, which may include replacing debit or credit cards, sending replacement statements, waiving some account fees and offering free telephone payments (regularly $20). Account holders in affected areas should call the toll-free number on the back of their debit or credit card to request a waiver or other help.
A spokesman for SunTrust says the bank will offer extensions on loans for customers in Irene-affected areas, also on a case-by-case basis. Those borrowers should reach out to their local branch or call the bank’s toll-free number for aid.
Capital One says it will offer assistance on a case-by-case basis, which may include waiving fees, reducing credit card APRs and devising special repayment plans. Customers can reach out to their local branch, call the bank’s toll-free number or send a request online, a spokesman said.
A Citibank spokesman says in emergency situations such as this, it waives fees and provide access to cash for account holders in affected areas. Call customer service to request assistance.
Bank of America says it will offer a number of “hardship” programs to help customers in Irene affected areas. “Typically, we waive the fees,” says a spokesman. Call customer service to request assistance.
Spokesmen for the banks said the decision was made to help consumers in areas where flooding and power outages may limit consumers’ ability to reach a branch or access their account online, or prevent the bank branch from reopening. “We know this is very stressful for our consumers and we want to put in as much extra effort as possible to help them,” says a Chase spokesman. Currently, 90% of the 1,015 New York-area Chase branches are already open, and most ATMs are working. An HSBC spokesman says just 15 of its East Coast branch locations remain closed due to storm damage. Bank of America expects minimal disruptions to its operations Monday, a spokesman says, and is deploying mobile ATM and banking centers to help customers in areas with widespread power outages where branches cannot reopen.
Update, 12:25 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a comment from Capital One.
Update, 12:40 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a comment from Citibank.
Update, 12:55 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a comment from Bank of America.
Update, 2 p.m.: This story has been updated to include a comment from Wells Fargo.