Hurricane Sandy Impacts Local Economies, Americans Get Financial Relief


Hurricane Sandy recently swept through the Northeast, wreaking havoc on households and local economies. This impact is supposed to be long-lasting and significant even though clean-up efforts are already underway along the Eastern seaboard.

Millions of Americans are currently without power, and it could be quite some time before it is restored, CNNMoney reports. In addition, many business, both large and small, may be forced to close their doors during this period.

As a result, the total cost of property damage and business loss is expected to range between $10 billion and $20 billion. Meanwhile, insured losses, including property and automobile damage is expected to total upward of $5 billion.

Luckily, many economists agree that the economic impact in the Northeast likely won’t have a major effect on the rest of the country.

Some Companies Offer Relief For Impacted Americans
Hurricane Sandy had a major effect on the finances of many households. Not only will some of these individuals be forced to make out-of-pocket expenses to repair their properties, but since the storm occurred at the end of the month, some consumers may be late when it comes to paying certain bills.

Luckily, rather than dipping into their emergency funds to cover late fees, many financial institutions are waiving these additional expenses for households in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

According to TIME, Chase and Citibank announced any late fees and ATM overdraft fees from customers living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be waived. However, these fees must have been incurred leading up to or during Hurricane Sandy.

Other banks, such as JPMorgan Chase will give consumers until March 31 to contact the company about any fees they racked up during the storm.

Meanwhile, Bank of America announced it will take similar measure. In addition, Bank of America said it will also waive any fees charged to consumers who used ATMs out of the company’s network since they may have been unable to reach a BofA ATM to take out much-needed cash.

Homeowners Also Get Relief
People who own property are often some of the hardest-hit individuals following a catastrophic event, such as Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, those with mortgage backed by Freddie Mac may be in store for some relief.

“Freddie Mac has authorized the nation’s mortgage servicers to provide a full range of mortgage relief options to affected borrowers with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac,” said Freddie Mac’s Tracy Mooney. “Forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year is one of several options our servicers have been instructed to offer borrowers on a case-by-case basis.”

Specifically, the government-sponsored enterprise plans to suspend foreclosure activity for homeowners impacted by the hurricane for up to 12 months. In addition, homeowners with properties damaged by the storm will not have to pay assessment penalties or late fees.…

Payday loans in Maine is not considered safe financing


The state of Maine does not have any available providers of payday loans because the practice is outlawed in the state. Maine’s state laws prohibit anyone, including a check cashing service, from cashing or advancing any money on a postdated check and calling this service any type of loan. All loans in the state must be made by a licensed lender and must comply with the laws that govern small loans.

The state of Maine has laws in place that cap interest rates on loans whether they are small loans or large loans. On small loans the state has a mandated interest rate cap of 30% calculated annually.

A supervised small loan lender can provide a service that is similar to payday loans, but is barred from originating a typical cash advance loan on a post dated check. The small loans that are similar to payday loans have fees that are strictly mandated by the state.

The fees for a loan up to $75.00 cannot exceed $5.00. Loans that are for $75.01 to $249.00 will have fees that are not allowed to be over $15.00 and all loans from $250.00 to $2000.00 are required to have fees that do not exceed $25.00.

Some people in the state have gone around these laws by getting payday loans from an online service, but even then they are operating in a legal grey area. The only reason online providers of payday loans are still able to operate happens to be because their legality has not been challenged in court.

If you live in Maine and you need short-term financing, getting payday loans online might be just what you need. Consumers in the state should be warned that as many states in the nation try to crack down on payday loans, Maine might start to take a closer look at online providers. People in the state that use these services might be putting themselves in legal jeopardy.

There are better ways to get short-term financing in Maine. One easy way to find out what you might qualify for is to simply talk to your bank. Some financial institutions in the state have all kinds of loans that can help consumers in a pinch.

The chances that the state will ever allow lenders to provide payday loans are so slim that if you held your breath you would be sure to turn blue and pass on. This is good news for low income families especially, who tend to be the primary targets of predatory lending practices. Safe financing options in Maine do not include payday loans.