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Friday, August 29, 2014

Show me the money!
Bank reps to help Long Beach homeowners seeking post-Sandy insurance settlements
By Anthony Rifilato
Christina Daly/Herald
Representatives from five banks will be available in Long Beach March 4-9 to provide one-on-one assistance to homeowners seeking the release of Sandy insurance settlement funds.

Some help for homeowners desperately waiting for insurance money to rebuild their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will be available next week, after New York State's Department of Financial Services announced that representatives from five of New York's largest banks will visit Long Beach to provide assistance to residents.

“Delays in recovery have resulted in hardship for many families who lack the resources to pay for repairs pending reimbursements,” Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg said in a statement. “Our community needs help with releasing these funds so that we can rebuild our homes.”

Last month, the Department of Financial Services found that banks were holding more than $200 million in insurance funds from Sandy victims, and the announcement comes as homeowners grow increasingly vocal about their frustration with the reimbursement process, as they await funding to make the necessary repairs to their homes.

Weisenberg said that the Department of Financial Services has arranged for a program in which representatives from five banks — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, CitiMortgage, and Ocwen Loan Services — will be available to provide one-on-one assistance to homeowners seeking the release of Sandy insurance settlement funds. According to the state, the program is designed to help homeowners complete steps needed to have their banks endorse their insurance settlement checks, which are often written jointly to homeowners and their banks or servicers. Bank representatives will also be able to help people who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.

“This program will give homeowners personal access to their banks' representatives so they can get help with paperwork, have eligible settlement checks released, and discuss how to get help if they are struggling with mortgage payments," Benjamin Lawsky, the state's superintendent of financial services, said in a statement. "This should make the process quicker and more efficient."

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