JPMorgan Chase Makes Large Donation as Big Banks Offer Sandy Aid

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Banks in areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy have re-opened most of their branches. Now some of them are opening their checkbooks, too.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), BNY Mellon (BK), Capital One Financial (COF) and HSBC (HBC) all pledged this week to contribute financially to recovery efforts via a series of donations that will total millions of dollars.

New York-based JPMorgan Chase said Thursday it would donate a combined $4 million to the American Red Cross and local agencies assisting in the recovery, and give another $1 million in matched funds to the American Red Cross, World Vision and United Way for employee contributions to those organizations.

JPMorgan also said it would lend a total of $5 billion on favorable terms to small and medium-sized businesses in areas hit by the storm.

“While all natural disasters are heartbreaking, as a New York-based bank, this one literally hits home,” Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan, said in a news release. “We are prepared to offer unprecedented help from all areas of our firm through charitable relief, loans, fee waivers, and other commitments.”

The banks is waiving mortgage-related fees and offering to suspend mortgage payments for up to three months for homeowners in areas damaged by the storm, suspending foreclosure sales in zones the Federal Emergency Management Agency declares to be disaster areas, and permitting customers to donate to the American Red Cross using points from the company's "Ultimate Rewards" program.

Bank of America said Tuesday its charitable foundation would donate $1 million to storm relief, with half going to the American Red Cross and half to national, regional and local groups working to support recover needs.

“We have customers and employees throughout the hardest hit region and their safety is our main consideration,” Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America’s CEO, said in a news release. “As we do what we can to help them through this, we also are doing our part to help get relief to communities affected.”

Wells Fargo will also donate $1 million to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, with $250,000 going to the American Red Cross and $750,000 to "grassroots recovery efforts."

On Wednesday, Capital One announced plans to make $200,000 in emergency relief grants to support work by several groups, including AmeriCares; New York, New Jersey and Delaware chapters of the American Red Cross; the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region.

The company also said it would donate $600,000 to aid longer-term recovery efforts in areas of New York and New Jersey that were hit hardest by the storm, as well as match up to $200,000 in giving by the bank’s customers through the website for the company’s “No Hassle” rewards program.

“Local non-profits and community based organizations will be providing critical assistance in the coming days, weeks and months, and we are committed to do everything we can to help our customers and local communities recover and rebuild from this devastating event,” Michael Slocum, Capital One’s northeast regional president, said in a news release.

HSBC said Tuesday it would contribute $500,000 to the American Red Cross in Greater New York and donate another $500,000 in matching contributions for every dollar HSBC employees contribute to disaster relief efforts.

The companies also joined other big banks in agreeing to waive fees for things like overdraft protection and late payments for customers in areas affected by the hurricane.

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