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Gallagher Urges Banks, Credit Unions to Be Flexible with Loans and Credit for Customers Affected by Charley


CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

NAPLES—At a meeting today with Florida's banking industry, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher asked industry officials to offer a compassionate response to Floridians dealing with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Charley.

"I'm asking financial institutions to reach out and help the thousands of storm victims by increasing credit limits, eliminating fees for services and granting loan payment extensions," Gallagher said. "When disaster strikes, we must all stand together to help those in need, and I'm proud to partner with Florida's banking industry in getting our citizens on the road to recovery."

Gallagher addressed members of the Florida Bankers Association (FBA) today in Naples and asked banks and credit unions to consider increasing credit card limits and credit lines, reducing or eliminating late fees on loans, granting temporary loan payment extensions, allowing customers to delay loan or credit card payments, expediting loan applications, and waiving ATM and check-cashing fees for storm victims, even if they are not accountholders. In response, industry representatives pledged to assist those coping with the storm.

"Florida's banks stand ready to help the victims of Hurricane Charley," said FBA President Mike Fields, who also serves as president of Bank of America, Tallahassee Region. "The banking industry supports CFO Gallagher in calling for more assistance for Floridians in need and pledges to continue our many efforts to rebuild Florida's affected communities."

Gallagher today also urged storm victims to take these precautions:
§ Deposit your insurance proceeds check. Don't cash it.
§ Pay contractors by check, not cash, and keep receipts.
§ Don't pay until the work is completed.
§ If you finance repair work, understand the interest rate, terms and conditions.
§ If you need financial assistance, call your financial institution.

Following today's meeting, Gallagher toured hurricane-damaged areas in Polk County with local lawmakers, promising continued assistance for Floridians with insurance questions or problems. Gallagher pledged to keep the Department of Financial Services' hurricane hotline open for consumers at 1-800-22-STORM (1-800-227-8676).