COVID-19 relief programs from top US financial institutes
Guest post by Alex Guo
We are in uncharted territory. In times of turmoil like this, consumers are not only facing health issues, but also facing economic struggles, almost constantly, whether it’s their lack of job security, business loss, mortgage payments, insurance bills, children’s schooling, or even medical bills. Every day people are losing their jobs because of the virus and so creates a domino effect. Without a steady income, consumers are struggling to pay for groceries, their mortgage, or their insurance bills. With schools being shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, consumers with children have to take care of their children almost 24/7. This unprecedented time has left consumers in a pit of anguish, with stress levels flying through the roof.
Understanding the huge economic impact of the pandemic, financial institutes are trying to provide some relief to their borrowers and clients. Here is a detailed list of the major financial institutes and the various options they provide:
JP Morgan Chase is offering many types of support relief to its customers. Due to COVID-19, they have provided a $50 million commitment to address the public health and economic challenges. JP Morgan Chase will also be supporting small businesses and nonprofit partners by deploying $8 million to support vulnerable and underserved black, Hispanic, and Asian pacific islander-owned small companies. Lastly, they are providing a $2 million commitment to existing nonprofit partners, and the funds are going towards helping these partners support working capabilities, resiliency planning, fundraising, and communications.
Goldman Sachs is providing multiple efforts of relief to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak. They have committed to donating $300 million to help small businesses and communities affected by COVID-19 around the world. $250 million of the total will help ensure these small businesses have the resources they need for their operations, as well as to meet their requirements to their landlords, suppliers, and even employees. The other $50 million will be directed to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and to the Goldman Sachs Relief Fund to support communities deeply affected by the virus. Goldman Sachs Apple Card users are allowed to skip March payments without extra interest or penalties.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Bank of America is providing extensive relief resources targeting small business owners. For instance, if you are eligible through Bank of America, you can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program for financial relief to keep your business up and running. They are also providing online request payment deferrals for those who need help with a credit card and/or home loan payments. Lastly, they are supporting their communities by committing $250 million in capital to community development, $10 million in philanthropic grants, and $100 million to help the medical industry, food insecurity, and school closures.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Stanley has been focusing on supporting their communities. For example, they have made a $10 million cash commitment to aid global Coronavirus relief efforts and other organizations like Feeding America, the CDC Foundation, and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Health Fund. Although they aren’t doing much for their borrowers and customers specifically, they also donated $1 million to support charities in Wuhan, China.
5. CitiGroup- https://www.citigroup.com/citi/covid-19.htm
CitiGroup has been doing a lot to help the safety and health of families, their clients, and the community. They are providing $15 million to fund relief efforts globally, mainly including food distribution programs. Citibank is also helping small businesses and their customers by offering assistance to those impacted by “giving fee waivers for Citibank customers, hardship programs, and additional small business support, such as extended banker availability”(Citi Group). Beyond just this, they are also providing fee waivers on monthly service fees for retail bank customers, monthly service fees and remote deposit capture for retail bank small business customers, collection forbearance programs for eligible credit card customers, and other programs for eligible mortgage customers.
6. Wells Fargo- https://www.wellsfargo.com/com/focus/coronavirus-updates/
Wells Fargo has been extremely proactive throughout the entire pandemic. They have allowed customers to apply for the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program if they are eligible and provided different alternatives to branch banking like direct deposits or mobile check-image deposits. On a larger scale, they have provided business community planning and various preventive fraud attack programs. Not only are they available for their customers 24/7, but they are also giving back to the community by donating $1 million to Feeding America and their food banks, as well as $10 million to the WE Care Fund to help employees.
7. American Express- https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/company/notice/covid-19/
American Express has been providing relief to their customers in this unprecedented time in the form of knowledge and assistance. They have offered different tips and ways to help manage and protect your account as well as various resources for business owners. The links on their relief website have made it easier for customers of American Express to freeze, sign up, or replace their cards. They are also letting customers skip payments this month without any interest and penalties. Travel wise, American Express is providing different support on its website to help people travel more efficiently and safely.
8. U.S. Bancorp- https://www.usbank.com/splash/covid-19.html
The U.S. Bank has been providing its customers with a ton of support since the COVID-19 outbreak. For personal banking, they have given customers mortgage assistance programs allowing them to suspend payments up to 180 days with no late fees and mobile check deposits through their app. Additionally, they have provided a temporary new reduced pricing U.S. Bank Simple Loan, a temporary new reduced APR (2.99%) in the U.S. Bank Personal Loan, and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles for U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Holders. For small businesses, the U.S. Bank has provided owners opportunities to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program, SBA disaster assistance loans, and reduced rates on new quick loans.
9. Charles Schwab- https://www.schwab.com/faqs
Although Charles Schwab does not have a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic on their website, they have provided an FAQ page to help with any uncertainty for its customers. For those affected by the Coronavirus, they have provided links and support for many situations, including Taxes, RMDs, Asset Protection, Cash Solutions, Trading, and Mortgage Payment relief. For clients who have a mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC) through Charles Schwab Bank and Quicken Loans, they may be eligible for mortgage payment relief.
10. Best Egg (Marlette Funding)- https://www.bestegg.com/coronavirus-updates-resources/
Best Egg has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak and has provided customers with different resources to help. They have provided a variety of payment programs with included suppressed late fees, waived penalties on payments, a 2-month loan extension, accrued interests during the extension, and adjusted schedule payment days for customers. Additionally, they have been actively updating their blog resources on COVID-19 as well as their Facebook page updates.
11. Capital One- https://www.capitalone.com/updates/coronavirus/overview/
Capital One hasn’t mentioned any specific ways that they are helping their customers and borrowers through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they have an FAQ page on their website that suggests each person calls in for help to receive specific and customer-tailored details about particular problems. They have been helping people through hardships through their customer service and have been relatively lenient with transactions, deposits, bill payments, cards, and ATM-related situations.
12. Discover- https://www.discover.com/coronavirus/#covid-faq
Discover hasn’t mentioned any specific details regarding their COVID-19 relief programs. However, their FAQ website has allowed customers to stay updated on the virus and reach out for any help they may need. They have specific lines for online banking; personal, student, and home loan matters; and card customers to help with each situation specifically. They also have been assisting with traveling problems and late payments. Additionally, the Discover app allows customers and borrowers to stay updated on the Coronavirus situation as well as manage their business while asking for assistance through the messaging center.
Although Blackrock hasn’t released much in terms of helping its customers and borrowers, they have been giving back to the community. Their efforts include donating $50 million to relief efforts for families whose jobs were disrupted by the virus, $5 million to Feeding America, $2 million to partner food banks, $2 million to The Robin Hood Foundation Relief Fund, and $1 million to the Tipping Point Community COVID-19 Response Campaign in the United States alone. They are also sending relief funds to Europe and other global locations such as Asia and Latin America. On top of this, Blackrock is currently trying to maintain people’s retirement in these troubling times.
Chubb has provided many forms of relief on its resource center page, including claims, agents and brokers, and businesses. In terms of claims, they are supporting people financially, operationally, and resourcefully. They have also provided quick links and lines for people to contact specific agents and help desks no matter where they are located. For businesses, Chubb has provided tips and resources to support workers’ productivity and personal comfort. Lastly, in the case a loved one may pass of Coronavirus, their life insurance, medical treatments, surgical expenses, and insured indemnity in case of hospitalization will all be protected.
Aflac has been proactive in helping its customers through the pandemic. They introduced individual and group product claims that people can file and register to help people through these difficult times. Additionally, they have provided information and support on premiums and coverage on their FAQ page. Whether a customer is sick in the hospital or isolation at home, Aflac will cover benefits under any circumstance if they can provide documentation and are eligible.
16. Allstate Corp- https://www.allstate.com/covid.aspx
Allstate has not provided many specifics regarding COVID-19 relief; however their relief page has made it easy for people to contact help for particular challenges. The app helps people start, update, or manage a claim and contact Allstate agencies. For payment relief, they have given their customers extra time to make premium payments. They have allowed people to request a payment plan that will allow auto, property, and Powersports insurance payments to be delayed for two billing cycles without any additional penalty. Lastly, during the COVID-19 pandemic Allstate,, will cover customers who use personal vehicles to deliver food, medicine, and other goods for a commercial purpose.
17. Cathay Bank- https://www.cathaybank.com/COVID-19-update
Cathay Bank is offering a lot of assistance in terms of hardships to those who are economically affected by the virus. For mortgage customers, they can apply, if eligible, for a payment deferment plan to delay payments up to 90 days with absolutely no credit bureau impact and no late fees. For small businesses, they can talk to a relationship manager to discuss the best options for their business, and even apply for Economic Injury Disaster Program loans. Lastly, for those enrolled in online banking, they can manage their accounts from home, including managing balances, transferring funds, and making deposits, without visiting a branch.
Union Bank has provided financial assistance programs for its customers during the pandemic, which include: home loans for mortgage or home equity line assistance, consumer and business deposit products, business lending, and credit cards. With each of these specific programs, they have lines that can connect customers with a professional to give the best and most personalized help available. They also have a digital banking platform with multiple branches open during specific hours to help people access their finances. On top of helping their customers, they are committing a $3 million payment to support local communities in their COVID-19 relief.
PNC Bank is continuously looking for ways to help their customers through the COVID-19 outbreak. They are currently looking to operationalize the Paycheck Protection Program and CARES act. For personal customers, the bank is offering loans and lines of credit and credit card assistance by providing consumer loan hardship request forms and mortgage hardship forms. Customers are also allowed to postpone payments without late fees for auto loans, unsecured installment loans, credit cards, home equity loans, student loans, and other forms of borrowing. On top of the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses will be able to waive the Merchant Services monthly account and service fees.
20. EastWest Bank- https://www.eastwestbank.com/en/public-announcements/coronavirus-update
During the pandemic, EastWest Bank is temporarily shutting down branches in order to protect the health and safety of others. With that being said, they have made it widely known that their app can perform automated money transfers, wire payments, remote deposits, and other financial activities. They have also assured that customers’ deposits are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per person, as depended on by many. In terms of mortgage relief, EastWest bank is providing relief options for those who cannot make their mortgage payments on time due to the virus. For small businesses, they are also activating the Paycheck Protection Program as well as the CARES act to provide emergency assistance to those businesses who were hit the hardest. Lastly, to stay up to date, they have updated their website with tips to ensure that people are not getting scammed during this vulnerable time.
21. Farmers Insurance- https://www.farmers.com/covid-19-notice/
In this uncharted time, Farmers Insurance is providing as much relief to those affected by the virus as possible. There is a range of options, including pausing cancellations until May 1st with no late fee or other penalties, extensions on renewal dates for insurance, honoring state mandate rules, deferring the payments on customers’ bills, and filing claims remotely. For all other assistance, they have a line to call to discuss any specific hardships due to the virus. On top of these beneficial policies for consumers, they have provided a community service program called the Educational support with Sesame Workshop and IICF Early Literacy Initiative to help share literary resources for students who are not able to attend school and need additional assistance at home.
22. Statefarm- https://newsroom.statefarm.com/covid-19/
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Statefarm has been serving its customers, employees, and communities. For their customers and clients, their online presence has increased to 24/7 access on their phone lines and mobile app. Although not explicitly stated, they are actively trying to have increased financial flexibility for their customers. For employees who have tested positive, they are being paid on administrative leave to help with their recovery. Lastly, Statefarm has been assisting the community by donating millions to nonprofit charities benefiting COVID-19 relief and has put in place a “matching program” to help employees support organizations impacted by the virus.
To help those affected by the Coronavirus, HSBC has made it accessible to bank anywhere at any time online. With online resources such as mobile accessibility and ATM services, people can navigate their economic climate at their own pace. HSBC is also providing different programs to help consumers financially, such as: waiving ATM fees and early withdrawal penalties, deferring and reducing payments on personal loans, credit cards, and lines of credit; protecting customers’ credit; assisting with mortgage payments; and much more. In order to take advantage of these programs, there are specific lines to call on their informational website.