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Alabama banking chief visits Rotary

Businesses along the Alabama coast with documented loss now have help.

British Petroleum is writing them checks.

“They’re trying to take care of those that need it first, like the seafood industry,” said John Harrison, superintendent of banks for the Alabama State Banking Department. “They’re using every one of those boats that they can and every one of those employees that they can in the cleanup and in fighting the cleanup. Even at that, there is still some loss of revenue and loss of income. If they can document that, [BP is] cutting checks.”

Harrison visited the Rotary Club on Monday as part of a request from Gov. Bob Riley to inform communities of what is happening with the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.

Other members of the cabinet were also challenged to meet with locations and contacts.

Harrison learned that BP would be taking responsibility for the oil spill last week, and received information Monday that BP had started fulfilling documented loss reports.

The State Banking Department currently is informing banks of the process to document and report losses to BP.

“We’re working with our banks to make sure that they let their customers know what the process is and to reassure them that they’re going to get restitutions, that they’re going to get payment,” Harrison said. “If it gets into a banking situation, then we will be encouraging our banks to work with those customers and individuals as best they can through this process and we will look at that with special mention.”

An estimated 3.9 million gallons of oil have spilled since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon on April 20.