The massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., killing at least 89 people and leveling the town’s business district, also damaged four credit union branches, the Missouri Credit Union Association reports.
The four Missouri credit unions with branches in Joplin—District 7 Highway Credit Union, Great Plains Federal Credit Union, Joplin Metro Credit Union, and Postal Federal Community Credit Union—experienced various levels of damage.
Postal Federal Community’s Joplin branch suffered severe damage, and is closed. The facility has no power, limited access, and blown-out windows, says CEO Steve Pierson. It’s no clear when the credit union will reopen.
Joplin Metro President Cindy Atteberry lost her home to the storm. The credit union is closed with minor damage.
Great Plains Federal is instructing employees to stay home, says Ken Martin, CEO. The Missouri National Guard closed the area to traffic while searches for storm victims.
Offices of District 7 Highway had minimal damage, but are without power or telephone.
Missouri Credit Union Association President Michael Beall asked the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to activate CUAid, the national fundraising network for credit union employees and members. Within hours, the fund recorded $26,000 in donations.
Beall also contacted the Missouri Division of Credit Unions to determine next steps for helping the affected credit unions. The regulator will assemble a team once the National Guard allows access to the affected areas.
“It’s heartbreaking to see such devastation,” Beall says. “With nearly 40,000 members in the area represented by four credit unions, we know the need for support from the movement will be great.”
“We urge credit union employees, volunteers, and members to use cuaid.coop as a donation channel to help credit union people in need,” says NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian.
As donations are posted through CUAid.coop, NCUF will coordinate with the Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation to distribute money efficiently to credit union employees and members in the affected areas.