People are looking for emotional and mental health support to overcome the catastrophic outbreak of coronavirus, but they are also in dire need of financial help and relief. During such challenging times, the banking and insurance companies relaxed their terms & conditions and helped with generous donations. They have also pledged to extend their support to the customers, employees and communities with respect to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Bank of America, one of the prominent pillars of the United States banking industry, took the initiative to refund the overdraft fees, deferring payments of mortgages and loans, and late fees. The company has also suspended its activities related to foreclosures, evictions, and repossessions. The Bank has also released one of its kind, $1 billion, Corporate Social Bond, that focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic. This social bond created a buzz in the financial news for becoming the first-ever commercial Bank to introduce anything like this. The bond comes with a 4-year lock-in period at a fixed interest rate for the first three years, and a floating interest rate afterward. All the proceeds from the bond will help local communities cope up with the widened economic and racial inequality caused by the COVID-19. The amount will be allocated towards funding for not-for-profit hospitals supplying for purchasing medical equipment for Coronavirus testing, diagnosis, treating patients, and providing better nursing facilities.
In words of Bank of America’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly because of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”
Another top insurance company, American Family Insurance, is returning nearly $200 million to auto customers, who might be struggling due to poor financial conditions. While several companies have resorted to conducting mass layoffs across industries, they are committed towards COVID-19 relief efforts.
The CEO of American Family Insurance, Jack Salzwedel, penned down a letter, stating, “American Family Insurance is committed – and prepared – to serve you while also keeping our people and communities safe. So often, we’re at our best when the situation appears to be at its worst. We’re on this journey with you and look forward to supporting you in whatever way we can.”
Citibank is also not shying away from helping its employees and communities. To support the small businesses, the bank decided to wave off its monthly service fee, including penalty for early Certificate of Deposit withdrawals, and remote deposit capture fees. Citibank also announced to waiver the late fees and deferral of the monthly payment of personal loans for up to 2 statement cycles. Additionally, they have also contributed nearly $65 million towards the help and care of the frontline workers and their families by providing funding for medical equipment, gears, and meals.
The effort of World Bank Group’s in response to the situation is commendable. They have laid out an extensive and detailed operational plan to help affected countries. The organization has announced $12 billion direct support towards the COVID-19 relief efforts to help the countries at a broader scale cope with the adverse health and economic impact of the pandemic. Over the next 15 months, the organization will also provide $160 billion to help improve the health, economic, and social situations of the worst affected countries. The World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19.” The financial relief package focuses on strengthening the frontline health-care services and primary health care services, training the nurses and health workers, increasing the effectiveness of monitoring and reporting the cases, and improving the condition of treatment, especially for the poor patients. Such initiatives and immediate response from these companies are worth mentioning and applauding.
During such times, help and support can be initiated from many directions. These organizations have set a remarkable example of how an industry can help in strengthening the economy and supporting the communities at a global level by coming together in times of need.