August 29, 2017 / 8:47 PM / a year ago

U.S. banks should waive fees, allow late payments in areas hit by Harvey: regulator

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banks should waive customer fees and allow borrowers to make late payments in areas affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, a leading regulator said on Tuesday.

Residents wait to be rescued in Beaumont Place, Houston. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

Lenders should also think about extending credit to communities hit by crippling rain and floods, said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks.

“Adjusting or modifying payment terms may be the most reasonable option for some borrowers,” the regulator said in a statement.

The storm that hit Texas on Friday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane is still dumping rain and has caused devastating flooding in Houston, the fourth most populous U.S. city.

Over the weekend, bank regulators like the Federal Reserve encouraged lenders to ease loan payment terms for businesses and individuals affected by the storm.

Bank examiners will not punish lenders for such forbearance, the regulators said. The OCC reaffirmed that message on Tuesday and encouraged lenders to waive ATM fees and penalties for early withdrawals from some savings accounts.

Reporting by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Peter Cooney

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