As we are dealing with these unprecedented and trying times, many people are being faced with great financial uncertainty. In this edition of our guide for consumers struggling with financial security due to the COVID-19 pandemic series, we take a look at what help is available to customers of banks and/or credit unions and some things to be aware of.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Banking (IDFRP) as well as the Division of Financial Institutions are strongly urging both credit unions and state banks to actively respond to those borrowers greatly affected by the current economic environment, including hourly workers, independent contractors and small businesses.
The IDFPR recommends all banks and credit unions consider taking the following actions:
- Waive certain fees such as ATM usage, over drafting and late payments on credit cards and other loans.
- Offer payment accommodations included and not limited to letting borrowers defer payments at no extra cost and/or extending payment due dates.
- Increase any ATM daily cash withdrawal limits.
- Increase credit card limits for those borrowers that are deemed creditworthy.
- Ease any restrictions for cashing non-customer and out-of-state checks.
- Provide new loans to consumers and businesses on favorable terms.
- Remind customers to contact their financial institutions before entering into any unsolicited financial assistance programs.
- Alert customers to the possibility of any type of heightened risk due to scams and/or price gouging due to disruptions because COVID-19.
- Ensure that consumers as well as any small businesses don’t experience any type of disruption of service if there is the possibility that a financial institution may close their office(s).
As a general rule of thumb, always contact your/a lender to determine whatever necessary steps need to be taken as well as to see what kind of options are available to you.