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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

NYDFS encourages financial institutions to assist Puerto Rico

State Issues NYDFS State Regulators Disaster Relief CRA Consumer Finance

State Issues

On February 5, the New York governor announced measures to assist with disaster relief for hurricane and earthquake-ravaged Puerto Rico. In an Industry Letter, NYDFS informed state-regulated financial institutions that they may receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit for “community development activities that revitalize or stabilize designated disaster areas” in Puerto Rico. The letter included the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investment Connection program as one way for New York financial institutions to earn CRA credit. The announcement also mentioned the Guidance to New York State Regulated Banks and Credit Unions Regarding the Earthquakes in Puerto Rico issued on the same day by NYDFS. The guidance urged financial institutions with customers based in Puerto Rico to “consider all reasonable and prudent steps to assist such customers affected by the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico.” Some of the specific suggestions included (i) waiving ATM fees, overdraft fees, and late payment fees; (ii) increasing ATM daily withdrawal limits and credit card limits; and (iii) working with customers to defer payments or extend payment due dates on loans. The NYDFS guidance also encouraged state-regulated financial institutions to assist in collecting charitable donations and in notifying their customers how they can donate to help Puerto Rico to recover.

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