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Irma brings Miami's bustling 'Wall Street of the South' to a halt

Matthew Rocco
A vehicle drives on flooded Brickell Avenue in Miami on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, as Hurricane Irma passes.

Miami’s financial district, known as the “Wall Street of the South,” remained a ghost town Monday after Hurricane Irma brought flooding to the downtown banking hub.

Images from Brickell Avenue in Miami showed water flowing down the street Sunday, as the storm slammed Florida with high winds and severe storm surges. A long list of banks, wealth managers, private-equity firms and hedge firms call Brickell and downtown Miami home. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and others were closed while waiting for news on the extent of Irma’s damage.

JPMorgan was in the process of assessing the post-storm situation early Monday, a spokesperson told FOX Business. All of JPMorgan’s buildings and branches in Florida were closed.

Wells Fargo, which began closing most of its branches Friday, said its Florida locations and Miami corporate office would remain closed at least through Tuesday.

“Assessments will be made regarding branch conditions and team member availability before any decisions will be made about reopening branches. The safety of team members and customers remains Wells Fargo’s highest priority,” the bank said.

A Bank of America spokesperson said all of the company’s offices in Florida would not open Monday. The company also announced a $1 million donation to Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE:MS) wealth management offices across southern Florida, including Miami, closed Monday. Management will work with local officials to determine when conditions have improved to the point that employees can return to the offices, a spokesperson said.

More than 150 financial firms have offices in Miami, according to the Miami Herald. Brickell is also home to hotels, high-end condominiums and luxury shops such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

For consumers and businesses, JPMorgan is waiving certain fees and offering a 90-day grace period on delayed mortgage payments. The company will also provide reduced interest rates to assist in the rebuilding effort. Banks announced similar measures following Hurricane Harvey.

“As the first damage assessments start to come in, it is clear that this storm delivered a serious blow to Florida, and remains a threat to other states. ABA is closely coordinating with state bankers associations in the affected areas, as well as local, state and federal officials to ensure our customers and communities have access to the banking system,” said Rob Nichols, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.

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