January 22, 2008
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Giannoulias asks banks to waive fees for Holocaust survivors
More than 70 banks throughout Illinois have agreed
State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is asking Illinois banks to voluntarily waive wire transfer fees on
reparations from the German government paid to Holocaust survivors.
The transfer fee can amount to a 10 percent tax on the reparation payments, causing unnecessary
hardship to the recipients, many of whom are elderly with fixed low to moderate incomes,
Giannoulias said Tuesday during a press conference at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in
“While it is impossible to ever fully repay those who suffered the atrocities of World War II, this
simple act pays homage to Holocaust survivors and speaks volumes about the commitment of
Illinois banks to the well-being of our state’s residents,” Giannoulias said.
Illinois is home to an estimated 5,000 Holocaust survivors, many of whom qualify for restitution
payments from Germany. The average wire transfer is $350 per month, with each transfer being
assessed an international wire transfer fee of $10 to $40, according to Allan J. Reich, president,
American Jewish Committee-Chicago Chapter.
“Fee waivers on reparation payments will have a modest effect on any bank’s bottom line, but a
very tangible impact for the recipients,” Reich said. “We thank Treasurer Giannoulias for partnering
with us in pursuit of this worthwhile endeavor.”
In December, the Treasurer’s Office distributed a letter seeking the waivers to nearly 700 banks
which have or currently conduct business with the state. Nearly 70 have already signed on and are
listed under the Finances section of the Treasurer’s website, www.treasurer.il.gov.
“We at Pan American Bank are excited to be a part of this program in order to help Holocaust
survivors,” said Frank Cerrone, president, Pan American Bank, who expects customers of his
North Side branch to apply.