Banks holding over $200 million in Sandy payments
February 19, 2013 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
- 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
Part of complete coverage on
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1211 GMT (2011 HKT)
A CNN survey of more than 9,000 people across 20 African countries threw up some surprising results
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
The sign language interpreter widely ridiculed for his performance at the Nelson Mandela memorial stands by his work.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Behind the scenes in Cambodian karaoke bars -- a common front for child prostitution.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0446 GMT (1246 HKT)
A global risk firm surveys the most politically explosive countries.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
It's the battle of the tech titans. No, not Apple versus Samsung. Sony has gone head-to-head with Microsoft.
Keep up to date with stories from Europe's biggest tech conference.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
On Tuesday, I was free. On Wednesday, I became a criminal. India's high court just made being gay illegal, writes Tushar Malik.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
A Japanese actor says playing villians in Chinese films has helped the China-Japan divide. CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
New skyscraper-sized gas plant is the biggest thing on the waves.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Pope Francis is Time's person of the year. His papacy has drawn adulation from people around the world for his man-of-the-people ways.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Turning 50 is a major milestone in a person's life -- and a country's history.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
Today's five most popular stories