Agencies Provide Relief, ABA Pledges Support in Wake of Hurricane Harvey

As Hurricane Harvey struck Texas’ Gulf Coast over the weekend, federal and state banking agencies issued a statement on Saturday providing relief for institutions affected by the storm. The agencies encouraged banks in storm-hit areas to work constructively with borrowers, noting that “prudent efforts” to modify loan terms would not be subject to examiner criticism. “In supervising institutions affected by the hurricane, the agencies will consider the unusual circumstances they face.”

To facilitate restoration of banking services, the agencies said they would expedite requests to operate temporary banking facilities and that an initial phone call would suffice to provide notification. They also acknowledged that publishing and reporting requirements would be difficult for some institutions to meet after the hurricane. “The agencies do not expect to assess penalties or take other supervisory action against institutions that take reasonable and prudent steps to comply with the agencies’ regulatory reporting requirements if those institutions are unable to fully satisfy those requirements because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey,” they said.

The agencies also urged banks to monitor the performance of municipal and local securities of affected jurisdictions and reminded banks that Community Reinvestment Act credit may be available for stabilization activities in disaster zones.

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols offered ABA’s support for banks affected by Harvey. “ABA stands ready to work with the Texas Bankers Association, regulators and local officials to ensure the banking system continues to serve and support communities hit by this devastating storm,” he said today. ABA resources for banks facing natural disasters include a “Disasters” module in ABA’s Crisis Communications Toolkit.