What banks are doing in the Corona Virus situation globally?

Banks across the World are taking steps to help consumers impacted by the deadly coronavirus.

Banks are treating it as a watch-and-wait situation. They will ready plans behind the scenes and activate them when and if they get the signal from state and federal health officials.Preparations for the virus, known as COVID-19, could include work-from-home scenarios and, for some banks with global operations, separating employees into different groups to help contain the spread of the disease.

  • Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., said it is providing updates to its employees, including links to briefings from major public health organizations. It even maintains what it called pandemic kits that include disinfecting wipes, disposable respirators, vinyl gloves and first-aid supplies at all branches and corporate offices.Most banks play things close to the vest, perhaps in an effort to avoid stoking panic among employees, customers and investors.
  • JPMorgan Chase has not enacted a response plan for its U.S. business. But a spokesman said Wednesday that the largest bank in the country continues to restrict employee travel to and from mainland China and, this week, asked workers who have returned from northern Italy in the past 14 days and show any flu like symptoms to work from home for 14 days. In addition, the New York City-based bank now requires all business travel to and from Italy to be approved, as the outbreak in Italy continues to worsen.
  • Goldman Sachs said it is limiting all business travel to, from and within South Korea, along with the Lombardy and Veneta regions in Italy. The investment bank is also requiring all employees who’ve traveled to South Korea or affected regions in Italy to remain out of office for at least 14 days and it is requesting all nonessential business travel to other parts of Italy and Asia be postponed.

Some of the advice is the same that is being extended to all types of employers: encourage sick workers to stay home, separate those with severe respiratory illness from others, promote coughing etiquette and handwashing, provide disposable wipes and perform routine environmental cleaning, as well as other steps.

  • Citi

Through May 8, monthly service fees for retail banking customers and early CD withdrawals penalties can be waived upon request. These fee waivers and an additional one for remote deposit capture fees can also be waived for retail bank small business customers. Upon request, safe deposit box fees and ATM fees for non-Citi ATMs can be temporarily waived, too. Like other big banks, Citi is also preventing stimulus checks coming from the government from being used to make up for negative account balances for now.

Mortgage customers may be eligible for a hardship program and Citi credit card holders may benefit from collection forbearance programs. On April 7, the issuer announced that for two statement cycles, late fees can be waived for credit card holders and there’s a deferral of minimum payments. Forbearance programs are being provided for student loan borrowers as well through Firstmark (they should be contacted directly).

Customers should reach out to the bank to find out if they qualify for assistance. Specific phone numbers are listed on the website, although due to long wait times, it’s advised to visit the website or use the app to manage your account.

In its branches, Citi is providing plenty of hand sanitizer and ensuring that workers are aware of health and safety guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Customers should use the ATM and branch locator to find out which branches have temporarily closed and which ones have adjusted their hours.

  • Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank announced March 23 that it’s dedicating $5 million to aid small businesses and communities affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Support will be provided through relief programs. Customers with cash back credit cards from the bank have the option of having all or a portion of their rewards used to help others in need.

The bank’s resource hub with information about the coronavirus outbreak mentions changes at branches, including temporary changes in hours (Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at locations normally open on weekends) and the installation of plexiglass windows to separate tellers from customers. Drive-up windows are still available, but branch visits must be scheduled as appointments in advance. Only two customers can be present in the branch lobbies at all times and employees are helping customers at teller windows one at a time.

Customers are encouraged to use ATMs and the bank’s digital banking services.

  • Huntington

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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • TD Bank

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.

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