Skip to main content

Banks holding over $200 million in Sandy payments

By David Ariosto, CNN
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cuomo administration says it delivered letters to banks and mortgage service providers
  • Thousands of storm-battered residents are still awaiting $208 million in insurance checks
  • The banks were not immediately available for comment
  • Banks have said they were socked with many payouts that require processing

New York (CNN) -- Banks are holding more than $200 million in insurance payments meant for victims of Superstorm Sandy, nearly four months after the storm made landfall, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The Cuomo administration said it has delivered letters to various banks and mortgage service providers asking they "use maximum discretion and effort to speed the release of funds."

"Families need to be able to return to their homes and the state economy, which took a hit from Superstorm Sandy, needs the boost from spending on repairs," Cuomo said in a written statement. "After insurance companies have sent homeowners checks to pay for repairs, the money should not be sitting with the bank because of red tape."

Watch trees fall, fire start in storm
Breezy Point resident: 'It was hell'
Sandy victims suffer through cold snap

A month of outrage later, Senate passes Sandy relief

The state's Department of Financial Services found that four of the biggest U.S. banks -- Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank and JP Morgan Chase -- are holding more than 4,100 checks worth more $130 million. The banks were not immediately available for comment, though have maintained that they were socked with a massive amount in payouts that require processing in the wake of the storm.

Thousands of storm-battered residents are still awaiting a total of $208 million in insurance checks.

Cuomo said the payouts are often issued jointly to the homeowner and their bank or mortgage servicer, which then requires the "bank's endorsement of the check before the homeowner may access the funds."

Delays can follow when banks request proof of repairs or servicing required by federal mortgage agencies. But many residents have complained that they haven't received the funds they need to start the repairs.

Superstorm Sandy left 132 people dead in the United States and contributed to tens of billions of dollars worth of damages, especially along shoreline communities in New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Widow tells of HMS Bounty's last moments

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT