Natural disasters—like Hurricane Harvey—bring a number of challenges to the banking community, many of which will unfold fully only as the full toll is known. Meanwhile, here is a collection of resource information and action steps.
Closures. Banks in affected areas can close facilities and open temporary ones with a phone call. Written notices can be submitted later. For state charters, the DOB number is 877.893.6246. DOB page on closings: http://www.dob.texas.gov/banks-trust-companies/inclement-weather-or-emergency-closings#operating
FDIC is 202.898.7192 (Barbara Hagenbaugh) https://www.fdic.gov/news/disaster/harvey.html
Fed is 202.452.2955 (Darren Gersh). OCC is 202.649.6870 (William Grassano)
Federal regulatory web site with more info and links: https://occ.gov/topics/bank-operations/hurricane-harvey-information.html and https://occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2017/nr-ia-2017-97.html
Lending. Regulatory bulletins clearly expect lenders to be flexible on payments during this period. Late fees should be waived! Collateral will be affected as well as income. Hopefully flood insurance is in place. Right now, Congress is still arguing over extension of NFIP. But current policies should cover this event.
Operations. Bankers are encouraged to waive fees during this difficult period. Also, as waters recede, there will be branches, ATMs, and safe deposit vaults to clean up. Be aware of the environmental hazards resulting from contaminated flood waters. Employees need to be careful and wear appropriate gear!
Help for bank employees. IBAT and TBA have already initiated a relief fund campaign. Contributions are being handled through the Texas Bankers Foundation. http://www.texasbankers.com/web/Foundation/Hurricane_Harvey_Relief/Texas_Bankers/Hurricane_Harvey_Relief.aspx?hkey=cad6e80d-507a-4532-bf93-4d37ac95ab85 In addition, ICBA is partnering with MainStreet Bank in Fairfax, Va to launch the Hurricane Harvey Community Bank Relief Fund. https://www.airbanking.com/tools/payments/donate?init=Y&charity_code=OHcytiXvx9c
Watch for more information as events develop…..