September 7, 2004
OCC Encourages National Banks to Work with Customers Affected by Hurricane Frances
WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has outlined measures to assist national banks and their customers affected by Hurricane Frances. The OCC regulates national banks.
The OCC recognizes that the effects of natural disasters on individuals and businesses are often temporary, and that prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms on existing loans in areas affected by the disasters and related problems should not be subject to bank examiner criticism.
The OCC encourages national banks to consider various alternatives that may include:
- extending the terms of loan repayments;
- restructuring a borrower's debt obligations; and,
- easing credit terms for new loans to certain borrowers, consistent with prudent banking practice.
The OCC notes that these measures could help borrowers recover their financial strength and enable them to be in a better position to repay their debts. These recovery efforts can contribute to the health of the local community and the long-term interests of the national bank and its customers.
In addition, the OCC has authorized national banks to close offices affected by the hurricane temporarily.
National banks in need of assistance in dealing with customers affected by the hurricane should contact the OCC.