5 major banks vow to release more funds to Hurricane Sandy victims

The state's five biggest mortgage lenders are paying out 25 percent more.

The state's five biggest mortgage lenders are paying out 25 percent more. (3/2/13)

WOODBURY - New help could be on the way for Long Island victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still struggling to rebuild.

New York's five largest mortgage lenders say they are releasing an estimated $75 million immediately to help people with storm-damaged homes.

State officials say JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Ocwen and Wells Fargo will start paying out 75 percent of settlements to those who are up-to-date on their mortgage payments. Previously, the banks would release up to 50 percent to homeowners, and then hold the rest in escrow to prevent fraud.

It's a huge relief for homeowners like Lois Curry, of Lindenhurst. After four months of laying out roughly $10,000 for repairs, her family finally got a check to help cover the costs.

State officials say the delays were not deliberate, but that banks simply did not have the procedures in place to deal with the huge influx of insurance checks.

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