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Banks hold up against Sandy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Banks operating in West Virginia weathered superstorm Sandy well, reporting only a few offices closed because of a lack of electricity.

"All things considered, we weathered the storm fairly well," City National Bank spokesman Craig Stilwell said. "We did have seven or eight branches (of our network of 71) down from time to time on Tuesday, due to lack of power, but fortunately all of them were in areas where we had other branches open within a close proximity.

"For example, the South Hills office was down, but Kanawha City and the other Charleston offices were open," he said. "Our Operations Center in Cross Lanes was fully operational due to a generator we maintain to ensure no loss of power.

"On Wednesday morning, City National only had four branches closed. All were shuttered because they lacked power."

Other conveniences that customers have become accustomed to were available as well.

"Our automated teller machines at all other branches were available, including 36 ATMs that are made available to City customers through a partnership we have with One Stop convenience stores," Stilwell said.

WesBanco's Sissonville branch office now has power and is open for business, Brenda Robertson, president of WesBanco's Kanawha Valley Region, said Thursday morning. The branch had been closed because of a lack of electricity.

A United Bank employee who asked not to be quoted said Wood County, where United has numerous offices, "was pretty lucky to have just gotten rain and winds that didn't do much damage."

United's branch at the Charleston Town Center mall was open Tuesday afternoon, but the automated teller machine outside the office was not in service. It is one of the busiest United ATMs in the state.

Emily Bartram, United's regional retail sales manager, said in an email that the machine was in "supervisory mode" from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. "This is the result when the ATM is being serviced for things such as loading ink, paper or to replenish cash," Bartram wrote.

Huntington Banks spokesman William Eiler said only one Huntington Branch in West Virginia — Elkins — was closed Wednesday, and that was because of a lack of electricity. Huntington has 25 branches in West Virginia.

Eiler said Huntington has not experienced problems with any of its automated teller machines in the state.

JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Emily Smith said Wednesday that all of Chase's branch offices and ATMs in West Virginia were up and running.

"Our crews from non-impacted areas chipped in to ensure the safety of Chase employees in the state of West Virginia and to ensure that the branches could open and support customers," Smith said.

BB&T Corp. is the largest bank in West Virginia, measured by market share.

David White, BB&T's vice president of corporate communications, said only six of the company's 78 financial centers in West Virginia were closed on Wednesday, primarily due to power-related issues.

"BB&T is committed to assisting clients in areas where branches were closed or had limited hours due to the storm," White said. "We will consider each situation that occurred between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1 on a case-by-case basis. We will waive overdraft, returned item and negative account balance fees."

In addition, "Clients with mortgage loans should call Mortgage Servicing for payment information," he said. "Clients with direct installment loans, Home Equity Lines and Preferred Lines should contact their lending officer for payment extension information."

White said clients in affected areas may still be able to conduct business by accessing Phone24 (800-Bank-BBT/800-226-5228), through ATM locations, or by accessing BB&T online at www.bbt.com.

Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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