As part of the FDIC's efforts to assist bank customers and bankers affected by Hurricane Katrina, the agency is providing a new 24-hour consumer hotline and a dedicated web page that includes bank branch information for FDIC-insured institutions in damaged areas.
Callers seeking information about accessing their banking accounts, lost records, ATM cards, issues with direct deposit, and how to reach their bank can contact the FDIC. The FDIC is maintaining a searchable list of banks that are working with displaced people and will update the consumer contact and branch information continuously as the information becomes available to the FDIC. More than 250 FDIC employees have volunteered to help staff the hotline.
The FDIC is currently contacting FDIC-insured institutions within the affected disaster zone in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and is maintaining an up-to-date data base on its web site identifying the operational status of financial institutions, including their ability to process payments.
"I want to assure consumers that their money is safe and it's there," said FDIC Chairman Donald Powell. "The FDIC is doing everything in our power to quickly restore basic banking services to Hurricane Katrina's victims, and that includes helping to open up the communication lines between customers and the bankers who can serve them at this crucial time.
"Bankers are working hard to ensure that customers can get to their accounts. The American people and the American banking industry are very resilient and we will work through this tragedy. Banks are the cornerstone of any community and they will be on the front lines helping communities rebuild in the wake of this tragedy. Bankers will extend both a helping hand and credit."
Earlier this week, the FDIC asked banks it regulates to do what they can to assist consumers with their banking needs due to the disaster by encouraging banks to: waive ATM fees and increase daily withdrawal limits; ease restrictions on cashing out-of-state and non-customer checks; make it easy to open checking accounts without usual documentation/paperwork; waive overdraft fees as a result of paycheck interruption; allow loan customers to defer or skip some payments; provide short-term loans for living expenses; ease credit card limits; and delay delinquency notices to credit bureaus.
This and other information for consumers and bankers is available on the FDIC Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/katrina/index.html or by calling the FDIC's toll-free Call Center at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 8,868 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars – insured financial institutions fund its operations.
FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC’s Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or (703) 562-2200).