In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, big banks actually have a chance to play the good guy for once, ABC News reported earlier this month. Last week we discussed what the government-backed mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are doing to provide relief to homeowners facing foreclosure, eviction and mortgage-related penalties. In some cases, Freddie Mac is allowing mortgage payments to be delayed up to one year. Fannie Mae says that homeowners may quality for a 90-day mortgage forbearance, which can suspend or reduce required payments.
We’re pleased to share that the private sector is following suit, offering relief that extends beyond home mortgage struggles. Citi, Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and TD Bank are waiving fees for customers in states affected by the storm. Chase, for example, has decided not to charge fees related to overdraft or for late credit card payments. Wells Fargo is doing the same, absorbing costs and making a small dent in the estimated multi-billion dollars of damage that the eastern region experienced as a result of the massive storm.
Our thoughts continue to remain with those in the states affected by Sandy, and the ways in which the big banks are providing relief are clear messages to us about necessary preparedness for natural disasters. It’s not only about insurance and protecting your home against earthquakes in California; it’s also about being financially and tactically prepared in the event that a natural disaster strikes our coastline or near our homes.
How can you best prepare for emergencies and natural disasters? First, make sure you have some cash tucked away in savings that’s easily accessible. 1-2 months of estimated living expenses is a good ballpark figure to consider, but feel free to determine what’s best for you and your family. Secondly, do you have a relocation plan in the event you need to evacuate your home? For example, if your home is in a landslide region, is there a place you can go to in a safe zone that’s near by?
If you’re struggling with monthly mortgage payments or are at risk of bankruptcy, please consider calling McFarlin LLP. Financial security isn’t only about paying bills on time; it’s also about being prepared and protecting your family in case of emergency.