Hurricane Recovery Financial Institutions Step It Up

Hurricane Recovery: Financial Institutions Step It Up
We have all heard the stories of​ financial institutions exploiting consumers with shady practices such as​ exorbitant interest rates, hidden fees, and the like .​
These accounts anger us and, rightfully, those that practice these deeds should be exposed .​
Fortunately, not all reports are bad as​ evidenced in​ the way many companies are treating their customers in​ light of​ recent disasters such as​ Hurricanes Katrina and Rita .​
Let’s take a​ look at​ how some companies are responding in​ the wake of​ disaster.
1. Disaster Relief Programs. If you live in​ an​ area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and own property, you may be eligible for relief depending on your financial institution and the program they have in​ place .​
One well known bank, for example, is​ automatically deferring mortgage and home equity loans for as​ long as​ ninety days, or​ three payments .​
In addition, this same bank is​ not assessing late charges for that timeframe, nor are they reporting negative information to​ affected consumers credit reports.
2. Payment Holidays. Similar to​ disaster relief programs, several credit card companies are allowing their customers to​ not make credit card payments for a​ two or​ three month time period .​
Two institutions have stated that they will not collect late fees, but in​ each case it​ is​ not clear whether customers will still be charged interest on their unpaid balances.
3. Loan Extensions. The financial arms of​ several automakers are allowing customers in​ affected areas to​ defer loan payments for up to​ three months .​
Essentially, these institutions are extending the loan’s length and adding the months to​ the end of​ the loan period without charging customers fees for this service.
If you live in​ any of​ the affected areas, it​ is​ best to​ contact your financial institutions directly to​ learn exactly what type of​ deferral plans, if​ any, they have in​ place .​
Some programs are less clear than others, particularly the payment holidays for credit card holders since it​ isn’t always apparent whether you will still be charged interest during the affected time period .​
Still, these types of​ compassionate gestures by certain financial institutions can create plenty of​ goodwill for consumers and they are the types of​ corporations certainly worth patronizing for the long term.

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