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Last update: April 3, 2020.
As both COVID-19 and the closings designed to slow its path continue having their effects across the country and across the U.S. economy, consumers are rightly concerned about the impact on their financial lives.
FDIC, NCUA Offer Guidance to Banks and Credit Unions
As early as March 9, the FDIC encouraged financial institutions to help meet the needs of those customers and members affected by the coronavirus. This assistance may include, for example, waiving fees on late or missed credit card or loan payments, waiving early withdrawal penalties for out-of-work savers who need access to money locked up in CDs, or offering affected borrowers the ability to defer or skip making loan payments for a finite period of time.
The FDIC has since added to its website consumers’ frequently asked questions about the impact of COVID-19 on their banking relationships. These FAQs are being updated every few days.
Similarly, the National Credit Union Administration, which protects all federal (and most state) credit union deposits, is encouraging credit unions to assist affected members by allowing them to defer or skip some payments, extending payment due dates and waiving late fees and out-of-network ATM fees. Credit unions also are encouraged “to use responsible small-dollar lending” to help individual and small business members during this crisis. The NCUA addresses credit union members’ frequently asked questions.
U.S. Chamber Encourages Banks to Aid Small Business Owners
With the passage of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package, also known as the CARES Act, relief is already making its way to small business owners affected by COVID-19. The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which have been available for decades to assist small business owners in times of natural disaster, are a primary source of relief. Banks also are awaiting specific guidance on the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guarantee.
In a March 30 press call, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president of small business policy Tom Sullivan spoke of empowering the banks themselves, in partnership with Treasury and the SBA, to do everything they can to help small business owners: “We are focused on speed, and the banks’ being able to get money onto Main Street immediately.”
Getting information into the hands of small business owners is the Chamber’s top priority (uschamber.com/sbloans). “What’s really driving us,” Sullivan said, “is the belief that no family or business should be ruined by the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus epidemic.”
New York State Requires Banks to Provide Relief
On March 24, New York State’s Department of Financial Services issued a new emergency regulation requiring New York regulated financial institutions to provide financial relief to New Yorkers who demonstrate financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For these individuals, the emergency regulation, adopted pursuant to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.9, asks banks to eliminate their ATM fees, overdraft fees and credit card late payment fees. And this guidance is only the starting point: Regulated institutions “are encouraged, consistent with safe and sound banking practices,” to assist individuals with a demonstrated COVID-19-related financial hardship “in any additional manner they deem appropriate.”
Banks in New York State have 10 business days from the date of the regulation to inform customers of what relief will be offered and how they can apply.
Banks and Credit Unions Respond to Consumers’ Needs
Over the past several weeks, financial institutions including retail banks and credit unions have been putting their response plans in place and refining them as situations change. Here’s how some banks and credit unions are offering relief to customers affected by the coronavirus. Bookmark this post and come back for regular updates.
(For current public health guidance specific to COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus, follow the CDC COVID-19 home page.)
On March 18, Ally shared measures it will implement to offer relief to those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s how the bank is offering assistance:
- Ally is waiving all fees related to expedited checks and debit cards, overdrafts and excessive transactions on savings and money market accounts until July 18, 2020.
- Auto loan payments can be deferred for up to 120 days. Referral requests for deferral of up to 120 days can be made online. No late fees will be charged, but finance charges will accrue. After payments resume, the contract will be extended by the number of months payment was deferred.
- Home loan payments for existing customers can be deferred for up to 120 days. No late fees will be charged, but interest will accrue. For payment assistance, customers are encouraged to apply via their Ally account online, in order to avoid long call wait times at 866-401-4742.
Ally is strongly encouraging customers to utilize its online self-service access and the Ally mobile apps, to avoid longer call wait times. Customers can continue to transfer money and make payments online as usual. For depositing checks of $50,000 or less, it’s faster to deposit them online via the mobile app than to submit by mail.
With most Ally associates working from home during this “unprecedented situation,” Ally asks for customers’ understanding if customers hear an occasional child or pet in the background while on a call with the bank.
For more information and updates, visit Ally’s coronavirus help page.
Bank of America
On March 12, Bank of America emailed information to Forbes about potential measures it was ready to take in response to the coronavirus:
“We continue monitoring the developments of coronavirus and are always prepared to support our clients facing financial hardship or loss of income due to illness. All employees who work directly with our clients are trained to identify and assist impacted clients and provide the right support to address their unique personal needs. As part of our regular practice, we offer assistance to qualifying consumer and small business clients facing hardships, including forbearance with certain fees.”
Bank of America customers who need help making credit card or mortgage payments can now apply for a payment deferral online. A video has been added to the bank’s coronavirus help page (linked below) to explain the additional assistance the bank is offering to clients and small businesses, which now have their own coronavirus help resource.
On March 19, Bank of America announced additional support that will be provided, working on a case-by-case basis, including:
- For consumer and small business deposit accounts, clients can request refunds of overdraft, insufficient funds and monthly maintenance fees.
- Clients can request to defer payments and refunds of late fees on their small business loans.
- On auto loans, personal loans, mortgages and home equity loans, clients can request deferral of payment, with those payments added to the end of the loan. So long as clients are up to date, no negative credit bureau reporting will be made.
Clients facing financial hardships related to the coronavirus are encouraged to visit Bank of America’s coronavirus help page and contact the client services team.
As stated at BBVA’s website, “Should you experience unfortunate hardship as a result of COVID-19, we want to help you.”
The bank has established an online portal to receive applications from customers requesting a deferral or extension of payment on a real estate loan, personal loan, credit card or small business loan.
Available upon request, for consumers and small business customers are: waived ATM fees and refunds of ATM fees charged by other banks/networks; penalty-free CD withdrawals for CDs opened prior to March 1; and refunds of overdraft fees.
In addition, small business owners can request temporary waivers of the monthly deposit account service charge and of monthly maintenance fees for the desktop remote deposit capture service. Small business customers may qualify for a fixed rate three-year term loan of up to $50,000 with the first payment not being due until 90 days after closing.
These special offers are available and presently set to end on April 17; however, the BBVA website says that the COVID-19 situation is being continuously monitored to see if extensions or further action is needed beyond that date.
Customers can call 844-BBVA-USA (844-228-2872) to ask questions or to speak with a telephone banking agent, with the caveat that call wait times will be longer. Transacting online or via mobile banking is likely more convenient, and customers can contact their individual bankers and branches directly.
For more information and updates, visit BBVA’s coronavirus help page.
In an email to customers on March 12, Capital One encouraged them to access their accounts with the bank’s digital banking tools, including online and app access.
Customers facing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus are urged to contact the bank directly through one of its many customer support lines. At its website, Capital One encourages customers who may be impacted or need assistance to reach out so that the bank can help find a solution.
Capital One tells Forbes that all customers will be eligible for assistance, which will vary on the type of product they have and their individual needs. Examples of assistance include:
- Minimum payment assistance
- Deferred loan assistance
- Fee suppression
For more information and updates, visit Capital One’s coronavirus help page.
Chase says it will “continue to adapt” to the changing coronavirus situation. Effective March 19, Chase temporarily closed approximately 20% of its branches to help ensure the safety of customers and employees. In addition to its nearly 4,000 branches that remain open, Chase encourages customers to utilize the tools available on the Chase mobile app and at chase.com.
Individuals who are affected by COVID-19 and need help with their accounts are encouraged to call the number on the back of their credit or debit card, or on the back of their monthly statement.
As of March 23, Chase provided additional details. Specific to mortgages, as one example, the bank advises customers who are able to continue making their mortgage payments to do so. Customers who need help with their mortgage payments can call 800-848-9380 or sign in and send a secure message.
A separate page on the website provides small business owners with a variety of resources, including information on contingency planning, a business resilience checklist, and links to the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. As of April 2, Chase is awaiting further guidance specific to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program available under the newly passed CARES Act.
For more information and updates, visit Chase’s coronavirus help page.
Effective from March 9 through May 8, Citibank customers can contact the bank for assistance with:
- Waivers on monthly service fees, for both regular and small business customers
- Waived penalties for early CD withdrawal, for both regular and small business customers
- Fee waivers on remote deposit capture for small business customers
- For small business customers, bankers available after hours and on weekends
- Some credit card customers may be eligible for collection forbearance programs.
- Some mortgage customers may be eligible for hardship programs through Cenlar FSB, the bank’s service provider. For assistance, call them at 855-839-6253 (Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. ET or Sat, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET).
To receive instant account information, Citi customers are encouraged to use either the Citi website or the Citi mobile app to check balances, make payments, transfer funds, deposit checks or locate nearby ATMs.
For more information and updates, visit Citibank’s coronavirus help page.
Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union states the situation clearly: “Over the past few weeks, the growing concern of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has all of our attention.” Consumers is monitoring the situation closely and has worked with its staff to help provide a safe environment for both members and staff members.
As of March 20, Consumers’ service center locations are operating for drive-through service only and are open Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sat 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Both mobile and online banking services are available 24/7 as usual.
Members who seek additional support to arrange loan or credit card payments are invited to call 877.ASK.CCCU (877.275.2228). Members who are concerned about the recent volatile financial markets can speak with a Consumers Financial Group advisor either online or by phone until the Consumers services centers are reopened; see Consumers’ coronavirus home page for link to CFG information.
To help members address cash flow concerns specific to the coronavirus, Consumers’ Credit Union is offering members the opportunity to skip their next monthly qualified loan payment at no charge. For those who take advantage of this Skip-A-Pay option, the deferred payment will be added to the end of the current loan contract; specific terms are provided here.
For more information and updates, visit Consumers Credit Union’s coronavirus help page.
Discover’s coronavirus help page says there is “support in place” for qualified Discover customers who experience hardship as a result of the outbreak, and provides contact phone numbers for credit card, online banking, personal loan, home loan and student loan customers. Several of the provided FAQs address student loans specifically.
Online banking customers can reach out to Discover’s 100% U.S.-based Customer Service team for help by calling 800-347-7000 (TTY/TDD 800-347-7454) at any time.
Discover encourages customers to use the Discover mobile app to view transactions, check balances, access funds, make payments and manage rewards.
For more information and updates, visit Discover’s coronavirus help page.
Fifth Third Bank
As of March 24, Fifth Third Bank’s plan for how it will be helping customers is much more detailed. Customers are invited to bank anytime, anywhere via either the mobile app or online. Temporarily, branches are open by appointment only, with drive-through service available for simple transactions.
As now stated at the website: “Special policies are in place to help address COVID-19-related hardship related to auto loans, credit card balances and loans secured by real estate. You will need to contact us to participate in these relief efforts.” Fifth Third representatives are available at 866-601-6391, Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET; the anticipated high call demand may make wait times longer. Hardship assistance also may be requested via Fifth Third’s online banking system.
The available relief includes, for example, payment deferrals of up to 90 days with no late fees during the deferral period on vehicle payments and waiving of the monthly payment requirement on consumer credits cards for up to 90 days with no late fees. The mortgage and home equity program offers 90-day payment forbearance with no late fees. Repossession activity on vehicles and foreclosure activity on homes is suspended for the next 60 days. Select banking fees also are being waived.
For more information and updates, visit Fifth Third Bank’s coronavirus help page.
To help protect the health and safety of both its customers and employees, HSBC Bank USA has closed a number of branch locations until further notice to follow the CDC’s guidelines to limit person-to-person contact.
Bank relationship managers are available to discuss available assistance programs. Customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus and need support are invited to chat online or to call HSBC at 866-949-2351.
A variety of assistance is being offered. For personal and business deposit accounts, this includes: waivers of ATM, overdraft or unavailable funds and monthly maintenance fees. CD early withdrawal penalties can be waived if the funds are needed due to COVID-19 hardship.
For personal loans, credit cards and lines of credit, it’s possible to defer or reduce payments during the hardship, and HSBC is waiving cash advance, insufficient funds, overdraft protection and late fees for 60 days. For business credit cards, lines of credit and term loans, payments can be deferred or reduced and late fees will be waived.
For mortgage and home equity loans, available hardship assistance includes deferrals, reductions and late fee waivers; HSBC also will prevent negative credit reporting.
For more information and updates, visit HSBC’s coronavirus help page.
Huntington National Bank has announced immediate financial relief measures for customers—both individuals and small business owners—affected by the coronavirus.
Banking customers with a financial hardship related to family illness or workplace closures due to COVID-19 can contact the bank for more information about its Consumer Payment Deferral Program, which offers a payment deferral for up to 90 days with no credit bureau impact. Assistance is available for payments in the following categories: homeowner, personal credit line, auto loan, consumer loan, credit card and debit card. Contact phone numbers are provided on Huntington’s coronavirus help page (linked below).
Beginning in March 2020, Huntington is suspending charging late fees on consumer loan payments (through the end of April), will not initiate new repossession actions relating to Huntington-financed vehicles, RVs or marine craft (through the end of May) and will suspend foreclosure actions on residential properties (through the end of May). Possible extensions of these programs will be considered.
Huntington worked directly with the governor’s offices to facilitate the SBA disaster declaration that qualifies Ohio small businesses for Economic Injury Disaster loans. Small business owner customers who experience a financial hardship related to family illness or workplace closures due to COVID-19 should contact Huntington to receive up to 90 days of payment deferral on all small business loans or to discuss needs-based business credit card payment deferrals. Beginning in March 2020, Huntington is suspending charging late fees on business credit card payments and business loan payments through the end of May; these programs may be extended.
For more information and updates, visit Huntington’s coronavirus help page, which has been updated specific to business banking resources now available under the CARES Act.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
On its website, Marcus by Goldman Sachs states: “Rest assured that your ability to transfer money in and out of Marcus, make and schedule loan payments, and access your funds and account details at any time, remains unchanged,” and that customers can save time, 24/7, by accessing their accounts at marcus.com or on the Marcus app.
For now, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is operating its contact centers virtually. The temporary hours of operation are Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET and Sat–Sun, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET. Customers can call 844-MARCUS-6 (844-627-2876) and may expect to experience unusually long hold times.
For those impacted financially by COVID-19, customers with personal loans through Marcus by Goldman Sachs can postpone payments on their loans for one month with no interest charged during the deferral, and their loan terms will be extended by one month. For customers who need access to funds currently held in certificates of deposit prior to maturity, Marcus is waiving CD early withdrawal penalties.
For more information and updates, visit Marcus by Goldman Sachs’ coronavirus help page.
Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal Credit Union provides assistance to its members 24/7 via its mobile app and online banking tools. Members can request a credit card limit increase, apply for a Pandemic Relief Loan or request mortgage loan forbearance. Members are invited to call 800-336-3767 for deferments on credit cards, auto loans or personal loans and for loan extensions. The Student Loan Center is available Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. ET, at 877-304-9302.
Overdraft protection, fee-free transfers and penalty-free certificate withdrawals also are being offered.
For eligible members, Navy Federal can temporarily suspend mortgage payments for 90 days. To request this forbearance, members are asked to send a secure message online rather than to call, due to increased call volumes and wait times.
Small business owner members are invited to contact Navy Federal Business Solutions at 877-418-1462 to discuss specific small business relief options.
To support the safety of its members and staff, some Navy Federal Credit Union branches are operating on reduced hours and some are temporarily closed.
As of March 27, PNC Bank has greatly enhanced its information available online specific to the coronavirus, adding content and contact information that addresses consumer customers, small business clients, corporate and institutional clients, branch and ATM availability and bank from home services. The site also provides scam and fraud alerts and offers market and economy insights.
To receive the fastest response time, PNC encourages customers to contact the bank online to discuss hardship postponement of payments, for up to 90 days, on auto loans, unsecured installment loans or lines of credit, credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans or lines of credit and student loans. PNC has an online form to make it easier to communicate with the bank, where customers can describe their hardship and have the form routed to the right PNC team member. The website also provides contact numbers for customers who prefer to phone in their requests.
Small business clients have access to a variety of programs that address loan, lines of credit, credit card and merchant services assistance. PNC also offers information relating to the Paycheck Protection Program created under the CARES Act that will serve as an extension of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program.
Effective March 20, PNC has made temporary adjustments to its retail branch network that include operating primarily via drive-up only (except branches that do not have drive-up), and PNC estimates that three quarters of its branch network will remain open. Open branches are operating on reduced hours and offering designated days for “essential appointments,” such as safe deposit box access, loan closings or other in-person services.
For more information and updates, visit PNC’s coronavirus help page.
At its website, Santander Bank reminds its customers of the convenience of transacting via its mobile banking app, online banking, automated services via phone and extensive ATM network. As of March 23, some Santander branch services are limited or closed, while other branches are providing full service.
For consumer banking customers, available relief options include temporary payment suspension, refunding late payment and overdraft fees, suspending mortgage and home equity line of credit foreclosures, waiving CD early withdrawal penalties and outgoing wire fees, and offering credit card limit increases. Retail banking customers who experience financial hardship due to COVID-19 are invited to contact the bank at 844-728-0999.
For its existing small business clients, Santander is offering a number of relief options, including extensions and payment deferral accommodations. Business banking customers who need assistance are invited to contact the bank at 877-768-1145 or their Santander relationship manager.
Hearing and speech-impaired customers may use 711 or their preferred relay service.
For more information and updates, visit Santander’s coronavirus help page.
State Employees’ Credit Union
State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) branches are open yet are serving drive-through customers only. SECU’s ATM network, website, mobile app, member services support center and voice response service all are available to members during these challenging times.
The online and digital resources will provide faster access. The 24/7 Member Services Support Center, available at 888.732.8562, is experiencing higher call volumes between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. By using the ASK SECU Voice Response Service, at 919.839.5400, members can verify account balances, transfer funds between credit union accounts and verify any recent or pending transaction history.
Members who need in-person services, such as to access a safe deposit box, can call their branch to schedule an appointment.
Specific to loan assistance, SECU has programs for eligible members who may seek either a new loan or a payment extension on an existing SECU mortgage, auto, credit card or unsecured personal loan. Members are invited to contact the credit union sooner than later to learn what options may be available, by sending a secure message through member services, calling their local branch or calling 24/7 member services.
For more information and helpful links, visit SECU’s coronavirus help page.
In order to better accommodate older customers and those most at risk for COVID-19, TD Bank has designated the first hour of its full-service store operations and customer appointment bookings for serving those clients.
In addition to some store closures that were previously announced, stores that are remaining open are operating on reduced hours. Customers who need to visit a store are encouraged to use the drive-through or to schedule an appointment in advance; safe deposit access also is available by appointment.
As of March 27, additional information is available at the TD Bank website about the types of financial relief TD Bank can offer through the TD Cares program to customers who have been impacted by COVID-19.
For customers who have a TD personal loan, auto loan, mortgage, home equity loan or line of credit, TD Fit Loan or TD Bank, N.A. Visa credit card, the bank can help with deferment of payments and waiving certain late payment fees.
Small business customers are invited to contact their relationship manager or a store manager, or to submit an request online. Available relief options include: refunds on monthly maintenance fees for business deposit accounts, deferment of payments on small business loans and lines of credit, refunds on transaction fees such as overdraft and non-TD ATM fees, waivers of certain fees for Merchant Solutions Customers and early access to business certificates of deposit with no early withdrawal penalties.
Any customer affected financially by COVID-19 can call TD Bank at 888-751-9000.
For more information and updates, visit TD Bank’s coronavirus help page.
Truist (formerly BB&T and SunTrust banks) says it’s closely monitoring the information available from the CDC and the World Health Organization specific to COVID-19, to ensure the bank is “acting on the latest information and guidance.”
Truist encourages both BB&T and SunTrust clients to bank from home using the available online, mobile and telephone banking options. Effective March 21, most branches will remain open with modified service, including ATMs, drive-through and safe deposit access in the branch by appointment only.
To save customers time, the Truist website has been updated to include the option of applying online to defer payments on a credit card, personal loan, auto loan or home equity line of credit. Detailed information is also available for its mortgage loan customers—both those with existing mortgages and those with loans in process.
The bank also is temporarily waiving ATM surcharge fees to help consumers and businesses access cash. Customers who use their BB&T and SunTrust credit cards for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies will receive 5% cash back through April 15.
Customers in need of assistance also can reach out to the following numbers:
- Heritage BB&T clients: 800-226-5228
- Heritage SunTrust clients: 877-820-2103
For more information and updates, visit Truist’s coronavirus help page.
U.S. Bank is encouraging customers to utilize its digital banking features, including its mobile app, online banking or banking by phone. Effective March 19, U.S. Bank has temporarily reduced its hours of operation in all branches and is encouraging the use of drive-up services rather than lobby services.
Any U.S. Bank customer who has been financially impacted by COVID-19 and needs immediate help is invited to call the U.S. Bank assistance line at 888-287-7817.
At its website, U.S. Bank is adding details to the ways in which it may be able to assist its customers—both personal banking and small business.
Mobile check deposit limits have been raised for personal banking customers, to accommodate their increased need to bank from home. U.S. Bank is offering reduced pricing on certain smaller personal loans and a Visa card with a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfer for 20 billing cycles.
A separate section of the website addresses mortgage help and repayment options.
For small business customers, the bank has temporarily reduced rates on business loans and lines of credit and is temporarily waiving the fee for businesses to receive money digitally from their customers with Zelle.
For more information and updates, visit U.S. Bank’s coronavirus help page.
Wells Fargo customers experiencing hardship from the coronavirus can call 800-219-9739 to speak with a trained specialist about their options. This includes customers of consumer lending, small business and deposit products. According to a March 20 release:
“Wells Fargo is suspending residential property foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary automobile repossessions. The company also is offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and other expanded assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage, small business and personal lending customers who contact the company.”
CEO Charlie Sharf stated, “At Wells Fargo, we are committed to providing you the financial access, guidance and support you need so you can focus on your well-being and your loved ones.”
Wells Fargo has temporarily closed some branches and adjusted other branches’ operating hours. Customers are encouraged to utilize drive-up, rather than lobby, services when possible, and to use the available mobile and online banking tools.
To assist homeowners, the bank is granting immediate three-month payment suspensions, which can be extended for up to six months, to mortgage customers who request assistance and has now posted FAQs specific to mortgages and home equity online. For small business owners, a new page addresses the SBA Paycheck Protection Program.
For more information and updates, visit Wells Fargo’s coronavirus help page.