Some big banks are offering short-term loans and credit increases to help victims of Hurricane Sandy afford the repairs and changes needed to get things back to normal.
But the question is, should you take them up on the offer?
CNN Money reports that banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America are evaluating affected customers’ qualifications for loans and credit increases, taking into account the storm and being more lenient with their usual standards in hopes of offering more money to more people.
How nice, right? A word of caution: Just because there was a devastating Frankenstorm–let’s hope we won’t have to say that again any time soon–doesn’t mean that extra loans or credit increases are automatically a good idea. CNN Money makes the good point that before accepting any offers, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see what, if anything, they’ll cover.
In some cases, FEMA will cover rental payments for temporary emergency housing and other emergency-related costs, like medical bills. (You can apply for coverage here.) The Small Business Administration is also offering low-interest disaster loans.
If you don’t already have sterling credit and little or no debt, indebting yourself to the bank might not be the best first option. However, some big banks are waiving late and overdraft fees for customers affected by the storm in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which is both generous and commendable. (And it gives you the chance to make sure your credit doesn’t slip!)