Bank of America estimates that small business customers will need close to $2.5 billion to recover from Hurricane Sandy and has mobilized approximately 1,000 small business bankers to reach out to the disaster victims.
Millions of people along the East Coast face unexpected costs and little or no access to electricity, phones or internet, making it difficult to keep track of bank accounts.
“We are making every effort possible to connect with our customers in the affected areas,” David Darnell, the co-chief operating officer of Bank of America, said. “These are our customers, we know them, and we are in a good position to help them assess their immediate needs. We project that [customers] will need $2.5 billion in additional credit, and we are prepared to provide that on favorable terms to help them recover from the storm. If those needs increase, we will be there. We are committed to getting them through this difficult time.”
Under Bank of America’s disaster relief program, Bank of America customers may qualify for modified or extended payments on loans or credit cards. The bank will also refund certain fees incurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 for customers affected by the hurricane.
Several other banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup, are also extending help to hurricane victims. Both JPMorgan and Citigroup have extended fee waivers to their customers on overdraft protection, insufficient funds and late credit payments, according to Fox News.
Banks have also encouraged customers to donate to disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross in order to acquire rewards points.
“People are just trying to get their basic needs met,” Claes Bell, a spokesman for Bankrate.com, said, Fox News reports. “It’s a good thing if you can take something off their plate and give them leeway on their banking and financial issues. Banks are well advised to do something like this. It’s good press and good PR and good customer relations. It will also help some of these clients.”