Many Hurricane Sandy victims receiving insurance claim checks are facing a hurdle they hadn’t anticipated: the check is issued jointly to the homeowner and the homeowner’s bank or mortgage servicer. That means the bank is required to endorse the check before the homeowner may access the funds, and this is leaving many homeowners hanging. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 for You report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced an investigation by the New York State Department of Finance, which has identified the 10 banks holding back the most Hurricane Sandy insurance aid by not co-endorsing insurance checks for homeowners.
An investigation by DFS, which reviewed 33 of the nation's largest banks and mortgage servicers, found that on average, these 10 banks are holding back 44 percent of the Hurricane Sandy insurance claims they have received. These banks are currently holding back 1,109 checks.
The top three worst offenders are Selene Finance, which is holding back 71 percent, Select Portfolio, which is holding back 56 percent, and Astoria Federal, which is holding back 48 percent.
NY1 for You contacted all three banks for comment. A spokesman from Astoria Federal Savings gave us a statement: "We...recently adjusted our policy and released 75 percent of all insurance claim funds received and continue to work with our mortgage customers..." NY1 for You has not heard back from the other banks.
The governor has notified all 10 banks to speed up the disbursement of funds to affected homeowners. To see a full list of the top ten banks holding back millions in Hurricane Sandy insurance, log onto DFS's website at www.dfs.ny.gov.