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One of the things I worry about the most in the wake of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey is how in the world folks will get back on their feet financially, especially if they are out of work for a period of time and don’t have an emergency fund. Heck, even if you do have a decent emergency fund, it goes really quickly in the event of an actual emergency. You know, like one where your house and job literally float away as opposed to an unexpected air conditioner or car repair that often qualifies as a bit of a financial emergency. Money is just money, but not having it and not being able to pay your bills often makes it understandably impossible to calm your mind and focus on other things.
While it will take many people and organizations working to together to get these most impacted families back on their feet again, I am glad to see many banks are at least making this first part of the crisis a little easier for their customers by waiving many fees, largely without even needing to be asked. Many also seem willing to make other arrangements beyond these automatic fee waivers if you give them a call, but the ones that are just automatically waiving fees the way that AT&T is waiving data overages get big thumbs up from me. Trust me, folks in this area do not have time to call up their credit card companies and ask for help quite yet, so automatic waivers are the way to go.
Bank of America:
We recognize that calling may be difficult, so you don’t need to contact us for fee refunds. Please rest assured that we will automatically refund the following fees in the impacted counties in Texas:
- Deposit fees for overdraft, non-sufficient funds, Overdraft Protection transfers, extended overdrawn balance charges, and non-Bank of America ATM fees
- Debit card rush and replacement fees
- Fees for early withdrawal on a CD
- Bank of America® credit card cash advance fees and Overdraft Protection transfer fees on credit cards
- Late payment fees on credit cards, and some consumer and small business loans, including home equity, auto and personal loans
Our Client Assistance team can also help you with solutions, including:
- Credit line increases on your existing Bank of America Visa® and MasterCard® credit cards
- Modified or extended payments on loans, credit cards or lines of credit
Here’s how we’re helping customers in FEMA-declared areas:
- Automatically waiving or refunding late fees for mortgage, credit card, business banking and auto loans and leases through September 10, 2017.
- Automatically waiving or refunding overdraft, service and ATM fees on consumer and business checking and savings accounts, also through September 10.
- Automatically starting a 90-day grace period on mortgage and home equity payments. We won’t charge fees or send negative information to the credit bureaus. Please call us as soon as your situation stabilizes. We’ll work together to get you back on track.
- Opening branches as quickly as possible so you can talk to bankers and get to your safe deposit box. We started Wednesday, but this is going to take time—we appreciate your patience. Please check your Chase Mobile app® or the Branch Locator for locations now open near you.
- Keeping our ATMs stocked with cash as much as possible.
You can talk to a representative at the following numbers:
- 1-800-TO-WELLS (1-800-869-3557), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Wells Fargo Home Lending customers: 1-888-818-9147, Monday through Friday 6 am – 10 pm, Saturday 8 am – 2 pm Central
We are also waiving ATM fees for customers in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as reversing other fees — such as late fees — for all of our consumer products, including credit cards and checking accounts.
I didn’t find this sort of information available for all of the major banks quite yet, but I imagine most of them will respond with similar offers if you ask, though it is much better when they set it up so you don’t have to even ask.
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