November 18, 2013
OCC Encourages National Banks and Federal Savings Associations to Work With People Affected by Recent Extreme Weather
WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today encouraged national banks and federal savings associations to work with customers affected by the recent tornadoes in the Midwest United States.
The OCC has published guidance encouraging national banks and federal savings associations to work with their customers affected by natural disasters. The OCC recognizes that the effects of natural disasters on individuals and businesses are often temporary, and that prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms on existing loans in areas affected by the disasters and related problems should not be subject to bank examiner criticism.
In 2012, the OCC published guidance for national banks and federal savings associations to consider the following actions when responding to natural disasters:
- Waiving or reducing ATM fees;
- Temporarily waiving late fees or penalties for early withdrawal of savings for affected customers;
- Working with affected borrowers by restructuring borrowers’ debt obligations, altering or adjusting payment terms, or expediting lending decisions when possible and consistent with safety and soundness principles;
- Reassessing current credit needs of the community and helping meet those needs by originating or participating in sound loans to rebuild damaged property; and
- Contacting state and federal agencies, as well as other financial institutions, to help mitigate the effects of the event.
The OCC notes that these measures may help borrowers recover their financial strength and improve their capability to repay their debts. These recovery efforts can contribute to the health of the local community and the long-term interests of the national bank and its customers.
National banks in need of assistance in dealing with customers affected by the tornado should contact the OCC.