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FHLBNY to donate $500K, offers $1B in quake relief funding to P.R. lenders

In response to the severe and extensive damage caused by a series of earthquakes that continue to impact Puerto Rico, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York has announced $500,000 in donations to organizations leading relief efforts in the Commonwealth. 

In addition to the charitable contributions, the FHLBNY has $1 billion in disaster relief funding available to its members to help rebuild communities in FEMA-designated disaster areas in Puerto Rico.  

“In the wake of a natural disaster, relief and recovery efforts must focus on both immediate and long-term needs,” said FHLBNY President José R. González. 

“As we have seen in past natural disasters, the local lender and committed aid organizations are key to these efforts,” the Puerto Rican CEO said. 

“We have tremendous faith in the organizations that will receive these donations and appreciate the good work they have done and continue to do to help Puerto Rico recover,” he said. 

“Additionally, the $1 billion in disaster relief funding will help our members — the local lenders serving the affected communities — make a long-term, positive impact on relief and rebuilding efforts,” he said.

The FHLBNY will provide contributions of $50,000 each to the American Red Cross, Americares, Hispanic Federation and the World Central Kitchen to support ongoing aid efforts. 

An additional $300,000 will be provided to PathStone Corporation in support of its Adopt-a-Family Program, which is expected to launch on April 1, 2020, and will support housing preservation and reconstruction efforts for families impacted by the earthquakes, the agency confirmed. 

The FHLBNY has worked closely with PathStone on relief efforts in Puerto Rico since the 2017 hurricane season.
  
$1B earmarked for lenders
In addition to these charitable contributions, $1 billion in disaster relief funding remains available to FHLBNY members through its Community Lending Programs (CLP) to be used as both immediate gap financing and longer-term funding to restore homes and businesses. 

The $1 billion CLP commitment can be used for any residential lending activity for households whose incomes are at or below 115% of the area median income, as well as all small business and economic development lending in FEMA-designated disaster areas, and bridge financing.

These low-cost loans can be used by the FHLBNY’s member-lenders to support critical disaster relief financial activities, and meet the short-, medium-, and long-term funding needs of affected communities. 

The FHLBNY previously made this disaster relief funding available following the 2017 hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and has offered disaster relief funding following natural disasters across its District, most notably following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when members accessed $850 million in disaster relief funding to assist relief efforts in New Jersey and New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The announcement followed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s actions to support Puerto Rican communities recovering after the recent earthquakes, including: the New York State Department of Financial Services alerting New York chartered banks that they may receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration for engaging in community development activities to revitalize Puerto Rico; DFS issuing guidance urging New York financial institutions waiving ATM and late fees for consumers and businesses; and the governor deploying resources and experts from the New York Power Authority, bilingual mental health professionals from the Greater New York Hospital Association, and inspectors from the State Fire and Department of State to conduct structural damage assessments.

“Our brothers and sister in Puerto Rico continue to face financial hardship and require aid after the recent earthquakes that devastated the island,” Cuomo said. “New York is committed to assisting in recovery and relief efforts and I commend the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York for stepping up to help the people of Puerto Rico.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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