| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 1 Major U.S. banks, including Bank
of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and
Citigroup, are waiving customer fees in states hit by superstorm
Sandy, and in some cases are extending the period in which
waivers are in effect, as communities struggle to recover.
Bank of America on Thursday said in a note to
customers in states affected by Hurricane Sandy that they do not
have to call the bank to get overdraft, late payment, and other
fees waived. The bank said it will automatically waive many
charges incurred between Monday, Oct. 29, and Monday, Nov. 5.
The bank was updating a statement from Tuesday when it said
that customers in these states may get fees waived by calling
the bank or visiting a branch.
"Due to prolonged power outages, we recognize that calling
may be difficult," the bank said in Thursday's note. "You don't
need to call us for refunds to many fees."
Bank of America, the second largest U.S. bank by assets,
added that customers should call its Hurricane Sandy assistance
line if they want to increase the credit limits on their credit
cards or seek payment modifications or extensions.
Bank of America spokesman Larry Di Rita said the bank has a
longstanding policy that customers affected by hurricanes do not
have to pay fees, and it wanted to make sure they were not
worried about those charges.
"Whether it is now or a month from now, this communication
reminds customers that we are here to help and to let us know
what else they may need," he said.
More than 80 percent of Bank of America's branches in the
Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are now open, the bank said.
JP Morgan Chase & Co., the nation's largest bank,
said on Thursday it was extending fee waivers until Monday, Nov.
5, after initially setting an earlier date of Oct. 31. The New
York-based bank on Thursday also said it will waive all
mortgage-related fees and offer a 90-day period of relief from
mortgage payments to customers seeking assistance in areas hit
by the storm.
"We plan to be one of the key engines toward this recovery,"
said Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of the bank, as part
of a statement released on the bank's charitable donations and
customer relief efforts.
Prior to the statements from Bank of America and JP Morgan,
Wells Fargo & Co. said on Wednesday that it would
continue to waive fees for customers who use another bank's ATM
machines until Nov. 3 in eight states hit by the hurricane.
The bank added that it would continue to waive late fees on
credit cards and auto, home-equity and student loans until Nov.
3 in 12 states.
Citigroup - under the helm of new chief executive
Michael Corbat - also said on Wednesday that its customer relief
efforts would include protection against overdrafts, a late
payment option for credit products, and refunds on fees from the
use of other banks' ATM machines.