Banks Waive Fees For Hurricane Irene Victims

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Several U.S. banks, including Chase, are waiving fees for residents in the path of Hurricane Sandy

Americans along the East Coast, especially in the Northeast, are still grappling with the aftereffects of Hurricane Irene. Many have no power and a smaller number have been displaced from their homes or are trapped by washed-out roads or bridges. Two of the nation’s biggest banks along with regional banks are extending a helping hand to people whose lives have been upended by the storm.

Wells Fargo and Chase are temporarily waiving certain fees and penalties to give customers in hard-hit states some breathing room. According to a Chase spokesperson, the bank contacted customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where the bank has branches, in addition to customers in Vermont, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. In its communication to accountholders, Chase says that through Sunday, it’s waiving fees for using other banks’ ATMs. Chase is also waiving late-payment, overdraft, overdraft protection transfer and insufficient fund fees.

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Wells Fargo says that through Friday, it’s not charging customers in┬áNew York, New Jersey and Connecticut fees if they use another bank’s ATMs, and it’s waiving early-withdrawl penalties for CD holders in those states. A spokesperson says customers outside this area who were affected by Irene can contact the bank to ask for leniency on an individual basis.

Bank of America and Citi say they’re willing to extend help to customers on a case-by-case basis but they don’t have any large-scale fee waivers in place. Capital One, which has retail bank branches in several storm-impacted states, says it will also work with customers on an as-needed basis.

Waterbury, Conn.-based Webster Bank announced that it’s also waiving fees for customers using non-Webster ATMs in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The bank also says it’s offering fixed-rate home-improvement loans at 1.5 percent below its standard rate to help homeowners who need to rebuild.

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