ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 1, 2021) — The devastation of Hurricane Ida and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are stark reminders that natural disasters have profound effects on communities and the residents who call them home. In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community bankers are offering tips to help Americans secure their financial documents before disaster strikes so they can concentrate on what is most important—their immediate safety and that of their loved ones.

“Getting your financial documents in order ahead of a natural disaster or emergency can provide peace of mind and allow you to focus on more pressing and necessary matters,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “While natural disasters can happen at any time, your trusted community banker can help you construct a financial preparedness plan to help minimize the long-term impact of unplanned emergencies. Doing so can expedite your financial recovery after unforeseen circumstances strike.”

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

  • Create an emergency savings account for use in a crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home to purchase supplies, fuel or food in case electronic funds access is not immediately available.
  • Prepare a family emergency communications plan to reach loved ones following an emergency.
  • Gather financial and critical personal, household and medical information and make copies. Password-protect digital copies and store printed copies and USB drives in waterproof and fireproof containers.
  • Document and insure property to help assess their value and replacement costs. Renters, homeowners, and auto insurance don't cover all aspects of a disaster so you may require specialized coverage like earthquake and flood insurance.
  • Contact your insurance agent or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, to determine if you need a flood insurance policy. For more helpful financial preparedness tips, download FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.

Regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Be cautious when sharing personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number.
  • Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don’t know. Visit government websites, like cdc.gov/coronavirus, directly in your internet browser.
  • Be on the lookout for scammers who may try to take advantage of financial fears by calling with work-from-home opportunities, debt consolidation offers, and student loan repayment plans.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission if you receive messages from anyone claiming to be a government agent or if you believe you’ve been a victim of a COVID-19 related scam.

“Community banks provide critical financial support and assistance for their customers and communities in good times and bad and will be there to stand shoulder to shoulder in their time of need,” said ICBA Chairman Robert Fisher, who also serves as president and CEO of Tioga State Bank in Spencer, N.Y.

To find a community bank, visit www.banklocally.org. For more information on crisis preparedness, visit ICBA’s Natural Disaster Resource Center.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5.7 trillion in assets, over $4.7 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.6 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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