The New York State Department of Financial Services is calling on state chartered financial institutions to voluntarily waive wire and processing fees for Holocaust reparations recipients if they don’t already.
The agency estimated that more than 20,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in the New York metropolitan area alone, and about a third of them live in poverty. The department said it was not uncommon for Holocaust survivors and their heirs to be charged between $ 15 and $ 40 per transaction.
“These fees place a significant burden on Holocaust survivors, victims and elderly heirs who often depend on these payments to meet their daily needs,” Acting Superintendent Adrienne Harris said in a press release. “The removal of this fee sends a powerful message about the New York financial community’s desire to have a meaningful impact on the lives of the people it serves. “
In a letter to state-regulated banks and credit unions on Wednesday, Harris said less than 5% of them had previously chosen to waive fees associated with those payments. The department said it intended to eventually post on its website a list of banks that voluntarily waive fees associated with Holocaust reparations.
The ministry also recommended that financial institutions work with the Holocaust Claims Processing Office, a public body established to defend Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Among other things, the office provides free assistance to survivors and their families seeking to recover stolen money deposited in bank accounts, unpaid insurance benefits and works of art lost, stolen or sold under duress. during the Holocaust.