August 29, 2011

Though Hurricane Irene did not hit the east coast with the ferocity that was expected this past weekend, many areas from North Carolina to Vermont experienced severe flooding and power outages.

As such, banks that serve those regions were prepared and ready with plans to help their clients, and protect important facilities and data centers.

HSBC reported that fewer than 15 branches are still closed, as of Monday afternoon. The New York-based bank also confirmed that its online banking and trading activities are fully operational.

"In line with our business contingency plans, we took appropriate precautionary steps to safeguard our employees and secure company facilities in the path of Hurricane Irene," said Clinton Riley, VP of public affairs for HSBC North America. "We implemented contingency plans, utilized backup systems where required and made sure personnel were in place to enable all our systems and operations to continue leading up to and after the storm."

Meanwhile, Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.) said it still assessing impacts on banking centers and ATMs in the northeast, but does not anticipate any disruptions to its banking operations, said Kelli Raulerson, SVP of corporate communications for the bank.

"However we suggest that customers in impacted areas call their local banking center to confirm business hours," added Raulerson. "As necessary, mobile ATM units are being deployed to support customers where most significant needs exist due to storm impacts. In addition, customers may also use online, mobile or text banking for their banking needs."

Chicago-based Chase issued a statement indicating it would be increasing staff and extending hours at key branches in severely affected areas.

The bank said it expects most of its ATMs should be fully functional now, but will not charge customers for using a non-Chase ATM in the tri-state area.

The bank is also temporarily waiving overdraft, overdraft protection transfer, and insufficient funds fees for deposit accounts, and late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans. All of these fees are being waived for customers in the tri-state area through Sept. 4.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...