With temperatures expected to rise to 90 degrees in the next couple days, Florida credit unions will have heat to contend as they continue their recovery from the effects of Hurricane Irma.
Statewide power outages caused many credit unions to close, while others received less damage than expected and have resumed normal business operation, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU) reported.
Despite adverse circumstances, many credit unions are finding ways to serve their members using generators and partnerships. Many have limited staff available and are performing transactions off-line. In the spirit of “people helping people” many credit unions are offering low-interest disaster relief loans and waiving fees to provide immediate relief for their members during this time of need.
The LSCU’s disaster recovery team activated its disaster response plan last week in anticipation of the storm to ensure smooth operation. Irma’s path meandered, threatening the north Florida panhandle where the LSCU’S Tallahassee office is located. LSCU’s Senior Vice President Jared Ross and Chief Technology Officer Tyrell Baker evacuated to Birmingham as a contingency to maintain communication and critical infrastructure.
“The LSCU is now working closely with CUNA and other partners to meet the needs of our credit unions, staff, and board members,” said LSCU CEO/president Patrick La Pine. “It is critical that we learn as quickly as possible of needs in order to assist our credit unions and expedite recovery.”
CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle made a special video request asking the credit union system to give to the National Credit Union Foundation's online disaster relief program, CUAid, to support credit unions and employees with storm-related needs. This effort has been coordinated so that 100% of funds donated for Irma relief will go to the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation.
CUNA has developed, with the assistance of the Cornerstone League, a disaster mutual aid community. This resource was launched this week and will be open to credit unions to ask for help and others to offer material and other assistance. Needs will be matched with offers of help.
Also, CUNA, PSCU, and CO-OP announced last week a collaborative effort to launch a call center to facilitate credit unions getting information to their members in the wake of a disaster. Call center operators will monitor web sites and information compiled by the LSCU to assist consumers with information about operating status, ATM and shared-branch locations, and other important information. Toll-free numbers are (866) 564-3519 and (844) 897-2060 (with service options for hearing impaired).
Credit unions throughout Florida with with power and Internet service have offered help in various ways, and the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation is ready to assist. Contact SECUF director Juli Lewis for more details.