Weather and health-related natural disasters can cause extensive property damage and wreak financial havoc on families and communities. In recognition of National Preparedness Month, Heritage Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are advocating simple measures to help consumers with preparation and recovery to reduce their financial impact.
“While we can’t avert natural disasters, we can help our customers minimize their financial devastation by enacting a plan to safeguard their finances and minimize the financial fallout,” said David Crumhorn, President and CEO at Heritage Bank. “As your trusted partner and ally, trust in Heritage Bank to help you with the recovery and rebuild process so you can remain focused on the personal safety of you and your loved ones.”
Heritage Bank and ICBA offer the following tips to help customers make a plan and regain their financial wherewithal following a natural disaster.
1. Establish an emergency savings account for use in a crisis and keep a small amount of cash on hand in case you’re unable to access funds electronically and need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
2. Prepare backup communications plans if both cellular and landline services falter.
3. Store digital and paper copies of financial documents, including investment records, property deeds, insurance policies, tax information, wills, trusts and financial and medical powers of attorney.
4. Make copies of personal documents — Driver’s licenses, passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, adoptions, marriage and divorce papers, property deeds and titles.
5. Print contact information for trustees, guardians, and executors and store them away for safekeeping.
6. Create an inventory of personal and household valuables and use photo or video documentation to help assess their value and determine replacement costs.
7. Contact your insurance agent or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website, to determine if you need a flood insurance policy. For more helpful financial preparedness tips, download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit to get started planning today.
“Community bankers are financial first responders as stewards of their community,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “Rely on their financial expertise to help you evaluate your financial preparedness before these unexpected, stressful events occur, to help reestablish your financial footing.”
For more information on crisis preparedness visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org/news/crisis-preparedness.