) --

Regions Financial

(RF) - Get Report

is extending assistance to borrowers affected by the


(BP) - Get Report

oil spill.

The $137 billion-asset bank Tuesday highlighted a number of avenues available to help individuals and businesses facing hardship as a result of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, such as its payment assistance programs for business owners, which includes options like loan restructuring, payment deferral, loan extension or forbearance.

Borrowers with mortgages or other consumer loans through Regions can find relief through the Regions Customer Assistance Program, the bank said. Since 2007, Regions has helped more than 29,000 customers across its 16-state Southeast footprint remain in their homes, the bank said.

"We want our customers to know that Regions has programs in place to help individuals, businesses and communities affected by the

Gulf oil spill," CEO and President Grayson Hall said in a statement. "Our bankers are staying in close contact with customers in the

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Gulf region who may be impacted by this unprecedented event and stand ready to offer assistance."

After the financial crisis of the last three years, banks in general are more inclined to proactively seek out potential troubled borrowers to limit the loan losses. Banks in the Southeast U.S. in particular are familiar with these measures after enduring the fallout from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Analysts have already noted that banks exposed to the Gulf Coast could experience further

credit troubles

and extended recovery time as a result of the BP oil spill.

BP Oil Spill Hurts Banks


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said two weeks ago it would halt foreclosures in the Gulf areas affected by the oil spill for borrowers whose homes were serviced by CitiMortgage. The

foreclosure moratorium

extends from June 17 through Sept. 17, Citigroup said.

Bank stocks were tumbling on Tuesday as fresh concerns about the global economic recovery being slower than expected hit the markets. Regions shares most recently slumped 3.1% to $6.86; Citigroup shares were off 4.2% to $3.83.

--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.