Press Releases


For Immediate Release
September 20, 2005 Contact: Mary White
202-728-5715

CSBS URGES FLEXIBILITY, WORKOUT PLANS FOR BANKS IMPACTED BY KATRINA
‘Customers Temporarily Dislocated Should Maintain Existing Banking Relationships’

(Washington, DC ) The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is urging federal banking regulators to develop eased regulatory guidelines in dealing with banks located in areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina.

“Given the difficult situation hurricane evacuees find themselves in, bank regulators should be flexible when it comes to strict enforcement of compliance-related regulations that could hinder the delivery of services to dislocated hurricane victims, many who had to flee with only the clothes on their backs,” CSBS President and CEO Neil Milner said.

Milner said it’s clear that the effects of Hurricane Katrina are widespread and that it won’t be “business as usual” in the impacted areas in the foreseeable future.

While only 100 or so banks are headquartered in the region where Hurricane Katrina struck, hundreds of thousands of customers have lost their homes and financial records, in addition to their businesses and livelihoods, Milner said.

Milner advised customers who are temporarily dislocated to keep their local bank accounts active so ongoing services can be maintained. He encouraged evacuees to discuss their financial situations with banks in the communities where they are temporarily located to access funds and establish temporary checking accounts if needed.

“As the affected areas undertake major recovery efforts, local banks will be primary local partners in the effort to restore their communities’ economic health,” Milner said. “These banks will need regulatory flexibility so they can work with their customers to ensure the availability of financial services, credit and security for the financial assets of their communities.”

CSBS applauded the Independent Community Bankers of America for developing a number of recommendations for regulatory relief, as listed online at www.icba.org/files/ICBASites/PDFs/icbarecommendations.pdf

“Some of the ICBA recommendations will be helpful, but we need to make sure that banks continue to operate in a safe and sound manner. Examiners will need to work with banks that are most affected to evaluate business and recovery plans” Milner noted.

CSBS noted that state bank commissioners in the three affected states report that communications with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Atlanta office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have been excellent since the storm came ashore two weeks ago.

“Bank customers should be confident that their deposits are safe, sound and accounted for, and backed by federal deposit insurance,” Milner said. “Community banks are fully-vested in the financial health of the communities they serve, and they will be there to provide key leadership in local recovery efforts, just as they always have in good times and bad,” he added.
CSBS advises persons who find themselves temporarily displaced by Hurricane Katrina to contact their hometown banks to discuss their account situations.

The FDIC has a helpful Web site, along with a toll-free hotline. For information about accessing bank accounts, lost records, ATM cards, direct deposits or how to reach your bank, contact the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-ASK-FDIC, that's 1-877-275-3342. This hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also visit the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/katrina/index.html The FDIC Web site includes updated information about banks operating in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina along with consumer contact and branch information.

The Louisiana Office of Financial Solutions’ Web site, with important information for hurricane victims, is at www.ofi.louisiana.gov/ A toll-free number has been set up for Louisianans to call for current information about their financial institutions. For banks, call 1-866-783-5530
For questions about your mortgage company, call 1-888-525-9414.

For information about Mississippi banks, the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance may be reached at 1-800-844-2499.

For information about Alabama banks, the Alabama State Banking Department toll-free number is 1-866-465-2279.

About the Conference of State Bank Supervisors
The Conference of State Bank Supervisors is the professional association of state officials responsible for chartering, supervising, and regulating the nation’s 6,200-plus state-chartered commercial and savings banks, and more than 400 state-licensed foreign banking offices nationwide. More information about the Conference of State Bank Supervisors can be found at www.csbs.org

Media Contact:
Mary White, Vice President, Communications, 202/728-5715, mwhite@csbs.org