WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is encouraging national banks to be flexible with their loan customers in the flood-ravaged Houston area.

“The OCC recognizes that the effects of natural disasters on individuals and businesses are often temporary and that prudent efforts to adjust or alter terms on existing loans in areas affected by the disasters and related problems should not be subject to bank examiner criticism,” the agency said in a release.

The agency is encouraging banks to extend the terms of loan repayments, restructure borrowers’ debt obligations, and ease credit terms for new loans to certain borrowers.

The agency said these measures could help borrowers recover their financial strength and enable them to be in a better position to repay their debts, as well as contribute to the health of the local community and the long-term interests of the bank and its customers.

The OCC has authorized national banks to temporarily close offices affected by the flooding. Banks that need more help should contact the OCC district office in Dallas at 214-720-0656.

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