Assistance Critical To Rebuilding Effort
TRENTON – A bipartisan measure sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew, Senator Christopher Connors and Senate President Steve Sweeney urging New Jersey banks to make financial assistance readily available to individual property owners, businesses, and local governments affected by Hurricane Sandy was approved today by a Senate committee.
“The unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Sandy has devastated entire communities, leaving residents, businesses and local governments in dire need of financial help to cover emergency expenses,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “We know that federal funding will be provided to many of those who were affected, but we are urging the banking and lending industry to make assistance available immediately so that the process of rebuilding can get under way.”
“Victims of the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, including homeowners and businesses, who are looking to put the pieces of their lives back together are in desperate need of substantial and immediate financial assistance that only lending institutions can provide,” said Senator Connors (R-Ocean/Burlington/Atlantic). “At the same time, local governments will need the financial resources for infrastructure repair to allow for a comprehensive and efficient recovery process to be completed in an acceptable time frame. Undoubtedly, the extent and speed with which lending institutions act will ultimately play a considerable and meaningful role in the state’s overall recovery effort, both economically and in terms of quality of life for state residents.”
“The devastation created by Sandy was like nothing this state had ever seen before. We are going to come out of this stronger than ever, but it is going to take a group effort to do so,” said Senate President Sweeney (D – Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We have already seen the commitment from our first responders and those who have volunteered their time to assist in the clean up and recovery. New Jersey’s banks can now play a large role in that recovery by offering readily available financial assistance.”
President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for New Jersey on Oct. 30 and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide financial assistance to property owners whose primary residences were damaged or destroyed, to business owners, and to local government entities and agencies to help pay for emergency work and the repair and replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The senators said while that assistance will help the residents and governments of the state to recover from the effects of the storm, in some cases it may not be enough or come quickly enough to allow for a speedy and complete financial recovery for affected property owners or for municipalities and counties to finance urgently needed cleanup efforts.
The Senate Resolution (SR-85) urges New Jersey’s financial institutions to make financial assistance readily available to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The assistance could include: short term, low- or zero- interest loans or such other forms of financial assistance as may quickly and efficiently facilitate the rebuilding of the homes, businesses, and governmental infrastructure.
“Sandy has upended the lives of so many in New Jersey, causing extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure and creating a considerable need for immediate financial assistance,” said New Jersey Bankers Association Senior Vice President Michael P. Affuso. “While a number of institutions are already offering programs to help meet residents’ cash and financial needs, we are committed to working with lenders across the state to ensure they are connecting residents and local governments to the resources that are necessary to finance recovery and rebuilding efforts.”
The Community and Urban Affairs Committee approved the resolution by a vote of 5-0. Upon approval by the full Senate, a copy of the resolution, signed by the President of the Senate and attested to by the Secretary therof, will be transmitted to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance of New Jersey, the Chairman and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Bankers Association and to the chief executive officer, president or other chief executive of each state or federally chartered bank, savings bank, savings and loan association, building and loan association and credit union doing business in the state, as provided by the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance.