NY Waives Bank Fees, Student Loans For Sandy Victims

New York's governor announced Friday that some state banks will waive fees for customers that Superstorm Sandy has affected.

The banks that agreed to drop fees and penalties include Apple Savings, Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, Emigrant Savings Bank, M&T Bank and New York Community Bank.

"Thousands of New Yorkers' lives have been disrupted by the storm — including their usual financial obligations and activities," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "As a result, some people may have late payments or be forced to incur other bank fees and penalties."

The state-chartered banks agreed to waive fees until Nov. 15 and possibly longer. ATM fees, late-payment charges, penalties for returned checks, overdraft protection transfer fees and early withdrawal penalties may be extended past Nov. 15 in some cases, he said.

"Local banks can play a major role in helping our communities recover, as they have played a major role in their growth before the storm," said Benjamin Lawsky, the state's superintendent of financial services.

The governor also said that students in counties affected by Superstorm Sandy could be eligible for a 90-day grace period on their student loan debt.

Students must request the temporary loan relief and reside in the Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester counties. The grace period is Oct. 27 to Jan. 25.

"Those who lost homes or are still without power should not be burdened with the added worry of being late on their student loan payments," Cuomo said in a statement. "The grace period we are providing will give these New Yorkers some breathing room to focus on rebuilding and restarting their lives after the storm."

The New York State Higher Education Services Corp. also will assist student loan borrowers by reversing notifications to credit reporting agencies and suspending collections calls.

As the storm hit, Bank of America, Citi, TD Bank and Wells Fargo said they would waiving or refund out-of-network ATM fees as well as late fees such as those on credit cards, auto loans and student loans for customers in many of the storm-affected areas.


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