FDIC letter lists steps banks may take to help customers in hurricane’s path

Continuing efforts by federal regulators to respond to the weather emergency posted by Hurricane Florence, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Friday issued a letter to insured institutions encouraging them to “consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers in communities affected by recent storms.”

In its Financial Institutions Letter (FIL) 48-2018, the FDIC stated it realizes the devastating effects of a natural disaster, but those outcomes on local businesses and individuals “often are transitory.”

“Efforts to work with borrowers in the affected communities can be consistent with safe-and-sound banking practices and in the public interest,” the agency said, noting it encourages depository institutions to consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist customers in communities affected by recent storms.”

The agency stated that those steps may include waiving fees, increasing ATM cash limits, easing credit card limits, allowing loan customers to defer or skip payments, and delaying the submission of delinquency notices to credit bureaus.

The agency also:

  • Encouraged depository institutions to use non- documentary verification methods permitted by the Customer Identification Program (CIP) requirement of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) for affected customers who cannot provide standard identification documents.
  • Noted “prudent efforts” by depository institutions to meet customers’ cash and financial needs generally will not be subject to examiner criticism.
  • Referred institutions to the its Frequently Asked Questions for Bank Customers in Areas Affected by Hurricane Florence for more information.
  • Suggested depository institutions can advise customers to contact the FDIC toll free at 1-800-ASK-FDICor 1-877-275-3342 with questions about deposit insurance or accessing bank accounts.

FIL-48-2018 Regulatory Relief: Meeting the Financial Needs of Customers Affected by Hurricane Florence and its Aftermath