Banks Extend Fee Waivers for Storm-Hit Customers

Bank of America Inc. said more than 85 its percent of its branches and ATMs were open in the affected areas.

Bank of America Inc. said more than 85 its percent of its branches and ATMs were open in the affected areas.

Associated Press + More

By The Associated Press, Associated Press

Some of the nation's biggest banks have extended temporary waivers on a variety of fees and late charges for residents of states hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.

It's an effort to ease pressure on customers to make bill payments when nearly 1.8 million homes and businesses remain without power across a swath of states.

[READ: Sandy Shuts Down Northeast Air Travel]

The banks themselves still face power outages, forcing the shutdown of dozens of branches and ATMs.

JPMorgan Chase Inc. said automatic refunds of certain fees for those living in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia were extended until the end of business Nov. 7.

The extension applies to overdraft protection transfer, extended overdraft, returned item and insufficient funds fees, and late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.

Chase mortgage customers in those states may be able to get a 90-day moratorium on making mortgage payments. Customers should call 888-356-0023 and choose option 1 for mortgage to learn more.

Chase said about 87 percent of its total branch and ATM network in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metro area had power restored.

[READ: Big Banks Worried About Fiscal Cliff for Good Reason]

Citigroup Inc. likewise extended until Nov. 7 fee waivers for overdraft protection, non-sufficient funds, late payments on credit products, early CD withdrawal and wiring funds to affected Citi customers. Citi mortgage customers should call 800-283-7918 to inquire about payment options.

The New York-based bank said more than 80 percent of its branches and ATMs were back in service.

Nov. 7 is also the date for extensions at Wells Fargo & Co. on fees it normally charges its customers for using another bank's ATMs. Wells Fargo will also allow customers with CDs to withdraw funds from these accounts without incurring an early withdrawal penalty. These fee waiver extensions are available in the storm-affected states of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Additionally, Wells Fargo is continuing to waive late fees on credit cards, certain small business and consumer loans, including home-equity, auto and student loans until Nov 7. This waiver also applies to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Wells Fargo said 86 percent of its ATMs in the storm-affected states were back in service and 80 percent of bank branches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania had reopened.

[READ: Superstorm Sandy Creates Gas Shortage, Headaches]

Customers of PNC Financial Services Inc. will waive overdraft fees until the end of business Nov. 7 in New York City, New Jersey, northeastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. Customers in those areas have until the close of business on Nov. 8 to bring accounts that were overdrawn current.

Customers in central Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Washington D.C. have until the end of the day Nov. 5 to avoid fees.

PNC mortgage and home equity loan customers should call 800-822-5626 to learn about late fee waivers. Student loan customers should call 800-762-1001. Credit card and consumer loan customers should call 888-762-2265. Small business loan customers should call 855-762-2365.

ATM usage is free at non-PNC machines through Nov. 7 for the all of the affected areas. PNC did not say how many branches were still closed due to the storm.

Bank of America Inc. said more than 85 its percent of its branches and ATMs were open in the affected areas.

The bank said customers affected by the storm and floods in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia and the District of Columbia will automatically receive a refund on overdraft, insufficient funds and non-Bank of America ATM fees incurred as a result of storm conditions through Nov. 5.