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Wells Fargo, Santander adjust branch operations, waive fees

Another round of U.S. banks are adjusting bank hours, waiving fees and offering payment extensions to help customers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wells Fargo is temporarily closing some branches, adjusting operating hours of other branches and switching over to drive up service instead of lobby service at many branches. 

The bank has halted all residential foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary auto repossessions. In addition, customers can get fee waivers, payment deferrals and other assistance for credit card, auto, mortgage and other customers.

Wells Fargo Foundation has increased its charitable donations to $175 million to help provide food, shelter, small business help and housing stability. 

"The coronavirus is disrupting the daily lives of many people around the world, and Wells Fargo has taken — and will continue to take — the steps needed to support our customers, employees and communities during this difficult time," CEO Charles Scharf, said in a company release. 

He said the bank will continue to monitor the situation and take additional measures if needed. 

Santander US has converted some of its branches to limited service locations, offering check cashing, deposits, withdrawals, money orders and cashier’s checks from lobby or drive-thru locations and providing investment, mortgage and business specialists over the phone or by appointment. 

The bank established a Temporary Emergency Paid Leave Program that provides employees another 80 hours of paid time off. The bank is also paying workers another $250 per week for branch and frontline customer service workers.

"Banks are a critical part of our national infrastructure and community fabric, especially in difficult times such as the current coronavirus pandemic, and we take very seriously our responsibility to help our customers, employees and communities," Tim Wennes, Santander US CEO. "Santander will continue to support all our stakeholders - today and in the weeks and months ahead - as we face and ultimately overcome this pandemic together."

The bank is taking several steps to help customers, including the following:

  • Extended ATM and credit card limit increases
  • Waiving fees for early CD withdrawal and outgoing wire fees
  • Temporary payment suspension and refunding overdraft and late payment fees 
  • Suspending mortgage and home equity line of credit foreclosures