Thursday, September 29, 2022

OBA looking for help from banks for Harvey relief

An OBA Update late last month carried a report about a joint effort by the Texas Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas to help raise money for the Houston flood. The two banker advocacy groups expressed their heartfelt angst, thoughts and prayers for those communities that have been devastated by the recent hurricane.

TBA and IBAT were joined by the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association in an effort to work together and raise money to help the residents and communities recover from the unbelievable damage that’s occurred to Houston and the surrounding areas. It’s just beyond description.

The groups acknowledged it will take some time to even be able to assess the damage in a meaningful way, and to understand the limits of flood insurance.

“There are a lot of folks who don’t understand how flood insurance works,” OBA President and CEO Roger Beverage said. “Regrettably, they blame the ‘banks’ and that’s producing additional negative news about the banking industry. We’re going to have to deal with that issue as well as people’s mounting frustrations in the wake of this massive disaster.”

OBA Chairman Guy Sims also directed the OBA ask our member banks to help the residents and communities recover from the extensive damage caused by Harvey.

Some have already started their own efforts, such as JPMorgan Chase, which is donating $1 million for local flood relief and also match donations from its employees. Additionally, the bank is waving or refunding late fees for mortgage, credit card, business banking and auto loans and leases through mid-September. It is also waiving or refudnding overdraft service and ATM fees on consumer and business checking and savings accounts through the same time period and starting a 90-day grace period on mortgage and home equity payments.

Bank of Oklahoma, meanwhile, has dispatched a mobile ATM unit to the Houston area to help its customers located in the area.

Also, Interbank has its staff in Texas taking donations on behalf of a school district in the hurricane-impacted area.

These are just a few of the Oklahoma banks already helping. The OBA would love to hear what others are doing so they can be recognized: drop a line to jeremy@oba.com.

“What we’re asking member banks to consider doing is to make a tax-deductible contribution to our OBA Foundation, and after we gather funds we’ll forward the total amount to this joint TBA/IBAT/ICBA/ABA effort,” Beverage said.

“I’m so very glad that, for once, the various banker trade groups chose to work together in an effort to produce a positive result. I hope all member banks will join the OBA in making a contribution to this effort.”

Checks should be made payable to the Oklahoma Bankers Foundation to meet the requirements for deductibility.

Checks should be mailed to:

Oklahoma Bankers Foundation
P.O. Box 960173
Oklahoma City, OK 73196-0173