Updated to add information on Deutsche Bank
NEW YORK (
) -- Wall Street opened its heart and its till for victims of the
, with the country's six major banks pledging at least $6.85 million in support.
Searchers comb through the devastation in Haiti.
The banks urged employees to contribute as well, with some offering to match additional donations dollar-for-dollar.
The donations come after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck 15 miles outside the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince, killing tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. The disaster savaged the small Caribbean nation, destroying hospitals, homes and schools, and led to chaos in the streets in as survivors scavenged for food and medical aid.
>>Photo Gallery: The Earthquake In Haiti
They also come in tandem with a PR-offensive, as
banks face grilling in Washington for excessive greed that contributed to the financial crisis. Some Wall Street firms are about to report record profits and bonuses in 2009, after shedding bailout shackles, while average Americans continue to cope with unemployment and financial strife.
extended the most in no-strings-attached support to Haiti, offering $2 million. It's giving $250,000 to the American Red Cross for immediate relief. The firm has extensive global operations, and has been focused on building up emerging market divisions as it restructures and whittles down problematic U.S. businesses.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti and the families and friends of Citi employees in Port-au-Prince," CEO Vikram Pandit said.
Bank of America
each pledged at least $1 million. Bank of America could end up providing much more, offering to match all employee pledges without limit. It is donating $500,000 to the Red Cross for immediate relief.
"We believe it is our responsibility to do our part to support the relief effort," Bank of America's chief strategy and marketing officer, Anne Finucane, said. "Many of our associates, particularly in the South, have family and friends who were impacted by this disaster."
Bank of America is the biggest bank in the U.S., with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., and extensive reach throughout the Southeast.
pledged up to $1 million, with $250,000 going to urgent relief funds at the Red Cross and CARE. Another $500,000 toward longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts, to be split among those two groups, as well as World Vision.
The bank encouraged employees to donate as well, saying it would match up to $250,000 from their commitments.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to the people of Haiti," said JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon.
rounded out the six big banks, with a $100,000 contribution to the Red Cross. Among others on Wall Street to contribute support were Jefferies Group and Bill Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund, both of which pledged $1 million in support.
will also contribute all net trading commissions from Friday.
"Clients pay commissions every time they trade securities," Handler told
. "The hope is that they will trade more than normal tomorrow."
also said it will donate all of Friday's net agency equity trading commissions to relief efforts and match donations made by employees.
Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York