ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 3, 2020) — Hurricane Laura and the current wildfires along the West Coast are unfortunate reminders of the devastating financial impact that can accompany a natural disaster. In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community bankers are reminding consumers of simple steps they can take to prepare their financial documents and help alleviate financial concerns ahead of a natural disaster or emergency.

“In times of crisis, knowing that your private financial data are protected can allow you to focus on what’s most important—ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “While it may be impossible to avert a natural disaster, your trusted community bank can help you create a financial preparedness plan to minimize the long-term effects of these unplanned emergencies and jumpstart your financial recovery.”

ICBA offers the following tips to help consumers prepare and recover from a natural disaster.

  • Prepare backup communications plans if both cellular and landline services fail.
  • Store digital and paper copies of critical documents in a safe deposit box. These include a driver’s license, passport or military ID, bank and investment account information, proof of occupancy, a mortgage deed, insurance policies and three years of tax returns.
  • Make copies of personal documents—marriage license, birth certificates, adoption papers—for safekeeping and alert a relative, trustee or attorney of their location.
  • Print out contact information for trustees, guardians and executors and pack them away for safekeeping. Share a copy with a trusted family member or friend.
  • Create an inventory of personal and household valuables and use photo or video documentation to help assess their value and determine replacement costs.
  • Contact your insurance agent or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, to determine if you need a flood insurance policy. FEMA also offers a guide with checklists to help prepare for emergencies and natural disasters.

“Customers can rely on their neighborhood community bank to provide critical resources and assistance when they need it most,” said Rainey. “Community banks have been, and always will be there to stand shoulder to shoulder with their customers and communities in good times and in bad.”

To find a community bank, visit www.banklocally.org. For more information on crisis preparedness, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org/news/Crisis-Preparedness.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org. 

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