Banks waiving ATM fees for customers in Hurricane Harvey's path

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JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Comerica Inc. are among banks waiving ATM fees for Houston-area customers following flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

JPMorgan will also forgo collecting late fees for mortgage, credit card, business banking and auto loans, and will temporarily suspend monthly service and overdraft charges on deposit accounts, the firm said Monday in a statement. Wells Fargo also said it will reverse late fees on consumer products including credit cards and checking accounts.

Wells Fargo said it plans to donate $1 million to non-profit groups assisting residents. “With forecasts calling for more rain and potentially more flooding, we will continue to work with nonprofits and those focused on relief efforts,” David Miree, lead region bank president, said in a statement.

Harvey has dropped as much as 30 inches of rain on Houston, the fourth-largest U.S. city, and left more than 30,000 people in need of shelter, according to a government estimate. Banks including Comerica, JPMorgan, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. said their Houston-area branches were closed on Monday as a result of the storm.

From a credit perspective, the storm’s impact should be " minor and manageable” for regional banks with operations in the Houston area, according to Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Brian Klock. While it’s possible business activity will slow in the near-term as a result of the storm, banks should benefit in the fourth quarter as they lend for rebuilding, he wrote.

Cullen/Frost, the second-biggest bank based in Texas, was able to check on the conditions of its branches by viewing security camera footage, spokesman Bill Day said. While some properties had water inside, most looked to be “in relatively good shape,” he said. The bank also contacted employees in Houston, and reached out to emergency responders to get help for workers that needed it, he said.

“We’ll keep disruptions to customers to the absolute minimum that we can,” Day said in a telephone interview. “Right now, it’s just a matter of ‘Are our employees safe?’"

Bloomberg News