State of Washington DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS DIVISION OF by katiealibrandi

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									                                       State of Washington

                    DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
                            DIVISION OF BANKS
                         P.O. Box 41200  Olympia, Washington 98504-1200
    Telephone (360) 902-8704 TDD (360) 664-8126   FAX (360) 753-6070 www.dfi.wa.gov/banks

                                               January 28, 2008

Subject: Banks helping flood victims

Dear President/CEO:

I commend the banking industry for the assistance you are providing to the victims of the
severe flooding from recent storms in the counties of Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson,
King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, and Wahkiakum in
early December 2007. The personal stories in a recent article in The Olympian, “Floods
have gone, but big needs remain” 1 , exemplifies the immense challenges many displaced
homeowners, businesses, and farmers are still facing.

We’ve heard numerous stories about local banks working constructively with borrowers
who are experiencing difficulties beyond their control because of damage caused by the
disaster. Reports of banks assisting flood victims by offering unsecured signature loans,
allowing some customers to reduce or skip scheduled payments, and providing needed
home improvement funds to repair flood damaged property confirm that our Washington
state banks are meeting the critical financial needs of their customers and their
communities.
Recovery from these floods will take time. I encourage banks to continue to work with
borrowers in the areas hit hard by the storm. In turn, consumers and business owners
experiencing difficulties beyond their control should feel free to reach out and work with
their financial institutions. For example, customers may ask their bank to:
      •    Provide new loans with flexible repayment terms or other options to address
           critical or unique needs brought about by the floods
      •    Restructure loans to extend repayment terms or provide other needed relief
      •    Obtain short-term loans for living expenses until insurance proceeds are received
      •    Waive overdraft fees if the bank was not able to process deposits in a timely
           manner due to the storm
      •    Waive fees for using other ATMs if a bank-owned system is not available




1
    Sunday, January 20, 2008
Each situation is unique; not all banks will be able to provide the options above and some
may provide additional services for their customers. The key is for customers to keep an
open dialogue to find out how their bank can help them recover from this natural disaster.
Individuals can also contact the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)
for financial aid assistance at http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=9126 .
The Department of Financial Institutions and its Division of Banks stand ready to quickly
respond to any regulatory questions or concerns our financial institutions might have
about steps they are taking to assist their customers and their communities.
The ability of our financial institutions in the storm affected areas to quickly respond to
the needs of their customers and communities confirmed just how important it is to
maintain and be familiar with their disaster and business recovery continuity plan. The
plan should be flexible enough to allow for improvisation to address unforeseen or
extraordinary difficulties quickly.
With record snowfall this season in some parts of the Cascades and our state’s often
unpredictable winter and spring weather it is none too soon to confirm you are prepared.
If you have not already done so, I suggest you obtain a copy of “Lessons Learned from
Hurricane Katrina,” a booklet prepared by the member agencies of the Federal Financial
Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). The booklet relays financial institutions’
experiences and lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that you might find
helpful in considering your readiness for a catastrophic event.
http://www.ffiec.gov/katrina_lessons.htm
Thank you. Your continued assistance to your customers will not only contribute to
regaining the health of our communities but will also serve the long-term interests of the
bank.

                                              Sincerely,



                                              Scott Jarvis
                                              Director

								
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