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Banks Prepare For Sandy Onslaught

Most branches in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S. are closed; disaster recovery plans in progress.

As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast, more than 60 million people are feeling its effects. And as residents of the affected areas prepare for the storm's onslaught, so too are banks getting ready with plans to help their clients, and protect important facilities and data centers.

Bank of America said its locations at Two and Four World Financial Center would be closed. All of its other Metro New York area Bank of America office buildings, including One Bryant Park, are open, as of Monday morning.

Its New York City branches in all of the five boroughs will be closed Monday, as will its Merrill Lynch Wealth Management offices in the New York and Mid-Atlantic markets.

BofA spokesman Mark Pipitone said the bank will be working closely with local and state officials and that "our employees will work with affected customers who have financial hardship due to natural disaster on a case by case basis."

Meanwhile, Chase said it is waiving fees through Wednesday for customers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. These include fees for Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts, late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans. The bank also urged customers with questions to call a financial advisor, business banker, loan Officer or come into an open Chase branch.

Capital One announced that all its branches in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC will be open at 10 a.m. Monday, while most branches in New York and New Jersey will be closed. ING Direct cafes in New York and Philadelphia are also closed.

State Street Spokesperson Marie McGehee said the Boston-based financial institution expects to continue business operations without interruption.

"Due to the unprecedented weather predictions, we have invoked some contingency procedures, including managers implementing work from home arrangements for non-essential staff at their discretion," she said. "We also have alternate sites on standby should we need to transfer work to other locations."

BB&T said the decision to close branches will be made at the local level, according to spokesperson Merrie Tolbert. "We understand that there may be some isolated situations where a deposit or transaction is unable to be processed in a timely manner due to weather-related issues," she added. "We will review such situations on a case-by-case basis and if an unwarranted fee was inadvertently charged we will make the appropriate credit."

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, headquartered in lower Manhattan, said it would remain open. The DTCC, which automates, centralizes, and standardizes the processing of capital markets transactions, will process transactions as usual.

“DTCC has in place a robust business continuity plan and preparations have been completed to provide seamless processing and settlement on Monday and throughout the coming week, leveraging our multiple out-of-region sites and other company-established emergency response procedures,” said Michael Bodson, President and CEO, DTCC. “While the safety of DTCC employees and our clients is a top priority, we are also dedicated to addressing effectively the challenges and demands we may face as a result of events such as the hurricane that could potentially impact our business and the capital markets."

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 a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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