Washington, D.C. (Sept. 1, 2022) — In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community bankers are reminding Americans to create a plan to ease their worries and speed their financial recovery in the wake of a natural disaster.

“While unforeseen circumstances can occur at any time, devising a financial preparedness plan can help minimize the long-term impact and expedite the road to financial recovery,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “As financial stewards of their communities, community bankers are an excellent local resource to help consumers plan for life’s unexpected twists and turns.”

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

  • Create an emergency savings account. Keep a small amount of cash on hand to purchase supplies, fuel or food in case electronic funds are not immediately available.
  • Prepare a family emergency communications plan to contact loved ones.
  • Gather financial and critical personal, household and medical information and make copies. Password-protect and store printed copies in weatherproof containers.
  • Document and insure property to help determine replacement costs. Renters, homeowners, and auto insurance don't cover all aspects of a disaster so specialized coverage like earthquake and flood insurance may be required.
  • 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, such as cdc.gov/coronavirus, directly in your internet browser.
  • Be on the lookout for scammers whomay try to take advantage by calling with work-from-home opportunities, debt consolidation offers, and student loan repayment plans.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission if you suspect a COVID-19-related scam.

“Community banks have always stood shoulder to shoulder with their customers and communities and help them weather unfortunate and often times, unforeseen, circumstances,” said ICBA Chairman Brad Bolton, president and CEO of Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala. “As community banks, we are vested in the financial health of the community and are always willing to lend a helping hand.”

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 nearly than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5.8 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 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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