People crowd into a Chase Bank ATM kiosk to charge phones and laptops at 40th Street and 3rd Avenue, one block north of where power has gone out, on October 31, 2012, in New York City.(Photo: Andrew Burton, Getty Images)
Banks not wanting to lose goodwill with Northeast-area customers
recovering from Hurricane Sandy are waiving many fees this week.
Fargo, Bank of America, Citi and TD Bank are among those waiving or
refunding out-of-network ATM fees as well as late fees such as those on
credit cards, auto loans and student loans for customers in many of the
areas affected by the storm.
HOW TO DONATE TO OPERATION SANDY RELIEF
Many banks are also offering branch
services despite being affected by closures and power outages
themselves. As of Wednesday, Wells Fargo still had 140 of 1,170 branches
closed across Maryland, Virginia, Washington, New York, New Jersey,
Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In some cases, branches that
lost power are still operating, with store employees using flashlights
and completing transactions manually, says Wells Fargo spokeswoman Sara
For example, employees can take deposits and hand-stamp receipts that are normally put through a machine, Hawkins says.
really focused on serving our customer, especially during this time,"
she says, adding that customers are also using the power outlets in
branches that have power to charge their cellphones.
of America has sent mobile ATMs to lower Manhattan and planned to have
them running Wednesday night, says spokesman Mark Pipitone. Right now,
13 Bank of America branches are open in Manhattan, with more planning to
open Thursday. .
Wells Fargo is also in the process of deciding
where to deploy several mobile ATMs, which function as regular ATMs
other than not allowing customers to make deposits. Wells Fargo, which
is in the process of rolling out mobile check deposit across the
country, expanded availability of the feature sooner to customers
affected by the storm.
Bank of America's disaster relief program
also gives customers in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine,
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., the opportunity to
qualify for other services such as increases in lines of credit and
special assistance with lost, missing or late loan or card payments.
banks have struggled to stay on customers' good side in the past year
as many have raised fees or implemented new ones, waiving fees during
disasters isn't a new phenomenon, says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of credit
card comparison site LowCards.com.
He mentions local banks that waived check-cashing fees for victims of the Joplin, Mo., tornado in May 2011.