8 Ways Your Bank Can Help During Coronavirus Outbreak

| Read Time: 6 minutes
Share This Post

With the global spread of coronavirus and its associated illness, COVID-19, the economies of all countries have been significantly disrupted. As the United States now has the most cases in the world, across the country, the private sector has been making major efforts to help keep the economy afloat by adapting to the financial plight faced by many Americans. Big banks have notably been making major changes to their policies in order to help Americans like yourself get through this trying time.

How Banks Are Helping During Coronavirus Pandemic

Many larger banks are offering much greater leniency and financial assistance for customers affected by COVID-19. These measures include waiving fees, extending terms, deferring payments on loans and much more. The main caveat is that you cannot just assume you’ll get these extensions or deferments. You very likely must contact the bank and explicitly state you’ve been financially impacted by the virus. The good news is the big banks are offering their various financial assistance programs and measures for both consumer accounts and small business bank accounts . Here are some of the ways big banks are helping during coronavirus:

1. Waiving ATM Fees

A common fee that banks charge is an ATM fee levied for using another bank’s ATM or an ATM outside your network. With the threat of COVID-19 restricting the movement of many Americans, the available ATMs they can reach has been limited as well. Here are some big banks that are waiving or refunding ATM fees:

This service or something similar may already be offered by other banks. For example, USAA and Ally Bank are entirely online banks so they already offer ATM fee reimbursement up to a certain amount each month. Check with your bank to see if they can offer something similar if they don't already do so. Also: 9 Signs It's Time to Get a Business Loan

2. Deferring Auto Loans

Many brick-and-mortar and online banks are offering financial assistance for auto loans. Typical assistance includes deferment of payments and elimination or refund of fees. Here are some of the big banks offering auto loan payment deferral:

  • Ally Bank : Defer payments for up to 120 days with no late fees
  • Bank of America : Can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan
  • Chase : Defer payments for up to three months with no late fees
  • Fifth Third Bank : Defer payments for up to 90 days with no late fees
  • KeyBank : Defer payments for up to 90 days upon request
  • TD Bank : Allows payment deferral, but doesn’t specify length of deferment
  • Truist : Defer payments for up to 90 days

3. Waiving Early Withdrawal Fees for Certificates of Deposit

Certificate of deposit (CD) accounts are bank accounts in which you deposit money that you then cannot draw from for a certain period, such as 6 months, 12 months, 5 years or more, depending on the account. The payoff is that these accounts usually have higher interest rates than savings accounts or interest checking accounts. If you withdraw before the required time, then you normally incur a penalty charge. Due to the impact of COVID-19, many banks are waiving these early withdrawal fees, including:

Check with your bank to see if it can do the same for you. Mention the banks here that are offering a similar service — they might be willing to match that type of customer service to help you during this time.

4. Deferring Credit Card Payments

As with other loan products, banks have put in place financial relief measures for credit cards. Many banks are allowing credit card payment deferrals. The following banks state that they are enabling deferrals, but be sure to call your credit card issuer to request and confirm a deferral:

5. Suspending Foreclosures

With many homeowners facing the potential (or reality) of being laid off, many banks are suspending evictions and residential property foreclosure sales. The good thing about this is how different it is from the banks’ response during the 2008 financial crisis, when they foreclosed on thousands upon thousands of homes that couldn’t make their mortgage payments. Here’s a look at some banks that are suspending foreclosure activity due to COVID-19:

  • Bank of America : Suspending foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days
  • Fifth Third Bank : Suspension of foreclosure activity on homes for the next 60 days
  • KeyBank : Pausing on residential property foreclosures, unless required by a federal or government agency
  • Wells Fargo : Suspending residential property foreclosure sales and evictions

6. Waiving Maintenance Fees

Another common move big banks are making is waiving or refunding monthly maintenance fees. Many are also waiving or refunding these kinds of fees for both consumer and small business accounts. Here are some of the top banks waiving service fees:

7. Deferring Mortgage Payments

As with auto loans, banks are being lenient with mortgage repayments during this crisis. Many banks are allowing deferment of your payments. Some of the major banks allowing mortgage payment deferral include:

  • Ally : Defer payments for up to 120 days with no late fees
  • Bank of America : Allowing to defer mortgage payments on a case-by-case basis
  • BBVA : Provides loan assistance for real estate loans, with up to three months of payment relief
  • Fifth Third Bank : Payment forbearance for up to 90 days with no late fees
  • KeyBank : Defer payments for up to 90 days upon request
  • PNC : Defer payments for up to 90 days with no late fees
  • TD Bank : Allows payment deferral, but doesn’t specify length of deferment
  • Truist : Payment forbearance for a minimum of 90 days
  • U.S. Bank : Payment forbearance for up to 90 days with no late fees

8. Refunding Overdraft Fees

Many major banks are modifying their overdraft fee policies in response to the coronavirus. The following banks are offering consumers and small businesses to request refunds of overdraft fees or waive them entirely:

Up Next: Affected by COVID-19? Here's Every County Eligible for SBA Disaster Loans

The Bottom Line

Whether it’s their personal finances or small business finances, Americans are facing unparalleled financial stresses. Fortunately, major banks have responded very differently from previous financial crashes, such as in the 2008 financial crisis when millions of Americans saw their homes foreclosed upon, their cars repossessed, their lines of credit suspended and more. With COVID-19, the banks have reacted by doing a great deal to help their customers continue to live without the fear of having their credit ended or assets seized. Plus, more and more banks are announcing new ways they can help their customers everyday so be sure to check the websites of the banks, credit unions or other financial institutions you work with for emerging information. Additionally, if you have any other type of lending product like a business loan or line of credit , reach out to your bank to ask if there's anything they can do to help. Even if they haven't listed information publicly, many banks will still be willing to help you — you just have to ask. Thus, if you’re a small business owner or just a consumer, big banks are making a serious effort to have your back through these difficult times. More From Seek

Business Loan Resources

Photo credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.com

Did You Know?
We've funded over $400 million for small business owners since 2015