Credit unions in the Southeastern U.S. are making preparations for Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall Thursday night.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the entire South Carolina coastline, effective at noon (ET) Tuesday, and for parts of coastal North Carolina and Virginia.
“There are quite a few closings already because of the evacuation order,” said Brandon Pugh, vice president of public relations and communication for the Carolinas Credit Union League.
Heritage Trust FCU, Charleston, S.C., is fully operational today and will have branches open with a reduced staff allocation to serve members until 12 p.m. ET, according to President/CEO Jim McDaniel. “For the safety of our employees and their families we are encouraging them to stay at home due to child care issues or evacuate if they feel the need to do so,” McDaniel said. “We are complying with the mandatory evacuation order, which closed all schools and government entities in the eight coastal counties of the state.”
McDaniel said since the credit unions developed a co-location or “hot site” that can be used as a backup site for the credit union’s main data center, the credit union’s core system, including its ATMs, will remain fully operation during the storm.
“It is a complete mirror image of our main data center with full functionality for all of our electronic services,” McDaniel said. “The moving of the data center is called ‘a fail over’ and is relatively quick. It can operate in a ‘lights out’ environment so IT staff can access the system via the Internet and work remotely.”
Pugh said the Carolinas Foundation is prepared to disburse aid to disaster-stricken credit union employees and volunteers through its disaster relief grant application process. It also is ready to receive contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund, which since its establishment has provided more than $2 million in aid to the local, national, and international credit union communities. Any donation collected is disbursed dollar-for-dollar to aid in disaster recovery.
Also, CUNA Mutual Group has activated its disaster team, which will contact credit unions in the Carolinas that may be affected, provide information on how to report a claim, and follow up regarding the storm.
Credit unions can find updates at carolinasleague.org/florence.