7 Things Your Bank May Do to Help You Right Now

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The Coronavirus pandemic has caused irrefutable risk to the health and safety of hundreds of millions of people around the world, but the economic devastation is just getting started.

With stay-at-home orders pausing most travel and foot traffic, mass layoffs and an astronomical jump in unemployment, and small businesses going under left and right, the impact may be felt the worst in the average U.S household when it comes time to balance their budget.

 

But there is help.

From the federal government’s economic stimulus plan to relief for small business owners, measures are in place to keep the U.S. economy afloat until the pandemic’s curve flattens and we can all get back to work.

Some banks are offering relief, too.

So, if you’re sitting down at your computer or kitchen table and ready to pay your mortgage, credit cards, auto loan, or banking fees this month, it’s important to know what they’re doing to assist their customers.

Of course, the situation is fluid and things change daily, so the best thing you can do is just call your bank and talk with them about the items on this list – something you definitely should do before you miss any payments.

There are also plenty of scams and hackers out there, so be very careful with your sensitive financial information or who you listen to.

That being said, the encouraging thing is that your bank may be working to help you with these measures:

 

  1. Suspend foreclosures (and some rental payments or evictions)

Looking to quickly stave off a housing crash with a wave of foreclosures like in 2008, some banks announced that they’re suspending all foreclosures for a certain amount of time, piggybacking on foreclosure, eviction, and rent relief bills instituted on a state-by-state level.

So far, Bank of America (60 days), Wells Fargo, and a host of smaller banks are suspending foreclosures.

 

  1. Waive ATM fees

Last year, banks made record profits off of ATM fees – for the 15th year in a row. In fact, the average withdraw fee is now $4.72, which adds up to some serious cash out of our pockets.

But with Covid-19 now devastating so many Americans financially, several big banks have started to waive ATM fees – or, at least refund them.

Wells Fargo, TD Bank, and BBVA have waived all ATM fees for customers, and other banks are soon to follow suit.

Ask your bank if they are willing to waive ATM fees. If they don’t, consider switching to a bank like USAA, Ally Bank, or Charles Schwab Bank which always reimburse ATM fees.

 

  1. Defer our mortgage payments

Urged by the federal government to immediately give mortgage relief to borrowers, many banks have already announced help in the form of deferring payments. However, how that looks from one bank and servicer to the next can be totally different

Some of those include Ally Bank (120-day deferment), BBVA, KeyBank, and PNC. But aside from just payment relief, some banks are only offering a forbearance as of now, Trist, US Bank, Fifth Third Bank and a lot of servicing companies. Some of those may come with balloon payments after that forbearance period, so do your homework, ask lots of questions, and get it all in writing!

 

  1. Defer auto loan payments

Some banks are allowing their customers to defer their auto loan payments for a certain period, like 90 or 120 days. Most are waving all interest and penalties during that time, and the unpaid balance is usually just put on the end of the loan balance, making it easy for the borrower to get back on track.

So far, participating banks include Ally Bank (120 days), Bank of America, Chase, KeyBank, TD Bank, and more.

 

  1. Waive early withdraw fees for CDs (Certificates of Deposit)

CDs are stable investments but come with a period where your money is “locked in” and can’t be withdrawn without paying a significant penalty. But some banks are already allowing people to cash out their CDs before the 12 months, 5 years, etc. without paying the early withdraw fees that are in the fine print.

Banks like Citi, BBVA, KeyBank, and TD Bank have been understanding that people need to get their hands on cash any way possible right now, including CDs.

 

  1. Pause credit card payments

On most household budgets, the mortgage or rent is the largest line item when it comes to debt, followed by student loans (deferred) and auto loans (deferred). But next comes the credit card payments, which can really add up. However, with such a dire shortage of cash for most families going forward in this economic crisis, most people could see their payments rise and defaults or bankruptcy on the horizon.

Thankfully, banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, Citi, BBVA, and others have already announced credit card payment deferrals.

 

  1. Waive overdraft fees

Overdraft fees – or other various fees for nonsufficient funds – brought in $24 billion for banks last year, with the average fee around $34 for a bounced check. Thankfully, many banks are easing up on the rules for overdrafts during this troubled time, including Ally Bank, Bank of America, TD Banks, and more.

 

Bonus:

If you’re a small business owner, self-employed, or an entrepreneur, check with your bank if they’re helping customers apply for the Payment Protection Plan (PPP) or Economic Disaster Injury Loan (EIDL) that are part of the CARES Act stimulus plan!

And if you have any questions about your credit score or need to give it a boost, please contact Blue Water Credit any time!

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