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Banks waive fees; other business briefs

In this file photo, a Bank of America

In this file photo, a Bank of America branch office is shown in New York. (Jan. 25, 2009) Credit: AP





Banks waiving fees


Some major banks are waiving customer fees because of superstorm Sandy. Gov. Andrew M. Como announced Friday that New York Community Bank, M&T Bank, Apple Savings, Emigrant Savings and others have agreed not to charge fees for ATM usage, late payment, bounced checks, overdrafts, and early withdrawals from savings to pay for disaster needs. All the banks in Cuomo's announcement are chartered by New York State. Others chartered by the federal government such as JPMorganChase, as well as credit unions such as Bethpage Federal Credit Union, also are lifting fees. Officials said customers should check with their bank to see which fee waivers they are applying. "Thousands of New Yorkers' lives have been disrupted by the storm -- including their usual financial obligations and activities," Cuomo said. "As a result, some people may have late payments or be forced to incur other bank fees and penalties . . . I call on any state or federal chartered banks that have not yet waived fees to follow suit." -- James T. Madore



Empire earnings plunge


Four-year-old Empire National Bank said its third-quarter earnings fell by 94 percent on a decline in investment income. The three-branch bank based in Islandia said it earned $145,000, or three cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with $2.3 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier. "The decrease in net income was primarily attributable to reductions in security gains of $1.8 million," the bank said. Net securities gains totaled $94,000 for the quarter, compared to $1.9 million a year earlier. Empire also said total assets rose by 29 percent from the beginning of the year, to $438 million as of Sept. 30. Loans totaled $242.2 million, up 14 percent. Empire's branches are in Islandia, Shirley and Port Jefferson Station. -- Tom Incantalupo



SBA opens recovery center


The Small Business Administration Friday opened a business recovery center in Farmingdale to provide one-on-one help for business owners who want to apply for loans after the destruction caused by superstorm Sandy. At the center, SBA staff will assist business owners in preparing applications for SBA disaster loans and will answer questions. Business owners can apply for loans of up to $2 million at 4 percent interest over a 30-year period. Nonprofits can receive a 3 percent interest rate. The recovery center, in the Small Business Development Center at Farmingdale State University off Broad Hollow Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. -- Lisa Du

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