As Hurricane Irma threatens Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida in the coming days — and possibly the southeastern Atlantic coast by the beginning of next week — the American Bankers Association is offering banks and state bankers associations several resources to help with incident response and crisis communications.
ABA has compiled incident response resources, including individual playbooks for each state and information from the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center. ABA also urges all banks to join the FS-ISAC to receive members-only communications relating to disaster response and preparedness.
ABA also provides a free members-only Crisis Communications Toolkit, which includes talking points, FAQs for frontline staff, communications to customers, consumer tips and sample news releases and social media posts for a disaster response situation.
Meanwhile, federal and state banking agencies issued a statement today providing relief for institutions affected by the storm. The agencies encouraged banks in Irma-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 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.