The Claims Conference maintains an on-going involvement in community and country based initiatives aimed at obtaining waivers of bank fees applied to compensation payments received by Holocaust survivors.
As a result of efforts undertaken by government officials, community representatives, and survivor advocates working in cooperation with the Claims Conference, a number of banks around the world have voluntarily pledged to waive any wire transfer or processing fees associated with the electronic receipt of compensation payments.
In the United States, several national banks as well as state-chartered regional institutions have implemented the fee waivers for Holocaust survivor payments. These include Citibank, JPMorganChase, Dime Savings Bank, HSBC, Apple Bank, Independence Community Bank, Greenpoint Bank, Amalgamated, Brooklyn Federal, and Astoria Federal Savings. The Claims Conference is working with banks that do not yet have this fee waiver policy.
Survivors wishing to speak to their banks about waiving fees may print this letter from the Claims Conference to show bank managers.
At US Bank, contact the office of Rick Hartnack, Vice Chairman of Consumer Banking, at Corporate Headquarters, U.S. Bancorp, U.S. Bancorp Center 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402.
In California, more than 100 financial institutions agreed to waive wire transfer fees charged to Holocaust survivors receiving compensation and restitution payments. This was done through the efforts of the California State Treasurer’s office and Bet Tzedek Legal Services. A list of the institutions is at www.treasurer.ca.gov/holocaust.
Following up on its statewide initiative, the Florida Department of Financial Services publishes a list of participating institutions on its website at www.fldfs.com/holocaust/index.htm. For further information contact Lynn Grossman, Florida Department of Financial Services, 200 E. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399; Tel: 850-413-4160.
The Illinois State Treasurer asked Illinois financial institutions to waive international wire transfer fees on reparation payments from Germany. Please contact office for a list of participating financial institutions can be found at: http://www.treasurer.il.gov.
In Massachusetts the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation recently launched a Holocaust Restitution Fee Waiver Program. The program was developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Banks, Massachusetts Bankers Association, the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston and the Greater Boston Child Survivor group in consultation with the Claims Conference. To access a list of participating banks, click herehttp://www.mass.gov.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce and Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking have similarly responded positively to the Claims Conference outreach on this program, and have recently urged their financial institutions to join the fee waiver initiative.
British banks have agreed to repay the commission levied on payments received by Holocaust survivors and refugees.
The British Bankers Association (BBA) guidelines, which came into effect on June 1, 2002, also ensure that charges will not be imposed on any compensation or restitution payment in the future. Those eligible for a repayment are advised to contact their bank with evidence that they have received compensation or restitution payments and that commission was previously deducted.
For additional information go to www.ajr.org.uk/documents/bba.pdf.