Personal Finance

Millions of Americans may not be able to pay bills. These banks are offering coronavirus relief

Key Points
  • Banks and credit unions are making accommodations for Americans impacted by coronavirus.
  • Bank of America is allowing its credit card customers to defer payments.
  • Some banks also are waiving fees and allowing customers to break certificates of deposit early.
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If the coronavirus pandemic is rocking your finances, here's what you need to do

In the face of the global pandemic, millions of Americans may not be able to pay their bills this month.

To that end, a growing number of financial institutions, including Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citi and Fifth Third Bank, have taken steps to offer some assistance for customers affected by Covid-19.

The coronavirus aid relief bill also offers some credit protections. For example, lenders and financial institutions need to report accounts as "current" (as opposed to delinquent) — but it doesn't happen automatically; borrowers must first apply for help. 

"Speak up and ask for a break," said Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com.

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"Card companies are being very generous, allowing many cardholders to skip payments or at least pay less for a time,"  Rossman said. Keep in mind that interest may still accrue for each of the deferral programs.

Most importantly, if you are experiencing financial hardship, reach out to your bank for help, as much of the assistance is offered on a case-by-case basis, Rossman added. "That's the key — be proactive."

Here is a running list of some of the banks that offer financial aid to those affected by the pandemic. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Ally Financial is allowing auto loan holders and existing mortgage customers to defer payments for up to 120 days with no late fees. In addition, fees for banking customers, including overdrafts and balance minimums, are also waived over the same time period. 

Bank of America credit card holders concerned about making payments on time can submit an online request for a payment deferral and, if they're up to date on their accounts, those late payments will not be reported to credit bureaus. Bank of America also paused foreclosures, evictions and repossessions.

Citi is offering deferral of minimum payments and waivers on late fees and monthly service fees waivers as well as waived penalties for early CD withdrawal. Card holders may also be able to increase their credit lines.

Fifth Third Bank is waiving payments on mortgages and car loans for 90 days, as well as fees for banking customers. Card holders can also defer payments for up to 90 days with no late fees.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs allows customers to postpone making a loan payment for one month — with no interest charged during the deferral  — and is waiving penalties for early CD withdrawal.

TIAA Bank is waiving fees for wire transfers, ATM transactions, insufficient funds and late credit card payments through April, as well as increasing limits on debit and cash withdrawals and allowing credit card customers to skip a monthly payment without penalty. 

Some of the more generous accommodations are coming from credit unions. Here are a few of those offerings:

CBC Federal Credit Union is offering impacted members skip-a-pay options, fee waivers, short-term emergency loans with a 5% interest rate and hardship assistance.

Gesa Credit Union is offering low or zero interest rate personal loans to members facing financial hardship because of the coronavirus.

ORNL Federal Credit Union created a Pandemic State of Emergency Assistance Loan Program, allowing impacted members to apply for an unsecured loan at 0% interest for the first six months and 3% fixed interest for the remainder of the term.

Navy Federal is waiving fees for Western Union and early CD withdrawals.

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