SAN FRANCISCO (12/15/14)--Days and inches of rain left much of Northern California, in addition to the entirety of the Pacific coast, either soggy or wholly underwater last week, though only few minor inconveniences and closures were reported by credit unions in the affected areas.
The financial district in downtown San Francisco saw some of the heaviest rainfall, and the district lost power Thursday for a number of hours.
But one of the only credit unions materially impacted there, San Francisco FCU, with $885 million in assets, whose headquarters downtown lost power for much of Thursday, weathered the storm gracefully.
With a number of the credit union's branches scattered throughout the city relying on the central system at its headquarters, the outlying branches--which did not lose power--would have been stripped of the ability to serve their members had San Francisco FCU not been prepared.
When the power went out, however, San Francisco FCU's uninterrupted power source kicked in and the credit union was able to conserve and maintain power for its computer system, which allowed the other branches of the credit union to operate normally.
"We shut the branch at noon to have enough power to go to our offsite site if necessary, (but) power came back on at 4 p.m. (Thursday)," Jude Gogan, San Francisco FCU senior vice president/chief operating officer, told News Now. "The backup system gave us the power we needed."
Up the road in Santa Rosa, Calif., Robin McKenzie, senior vice president/marketing communications at Redwood CU, said the community was grappling with the elements last week as well.
But the credit union and its branches had no interruptions in service. Similar to San Francisco FCU, the $2.3 billion-asset credit union was also prepared to assist its members in case roads became impassable.
"Employees were safe," McKenzie told News Now. "Only the San Francisco branch was closed, everything else was open for business. We have a very strong incident response plan to check on employees and members."
McKenzie said the credit union encouraged people to stay safe and posted updates and alerts on its Facebook page, as many people stayed home from work Thursday to wait out the elements.
"We are monitoring it closely, and if our members or employees have needs we'll be ready to respond," McKenzie said.
South of the Bay Area, Pleasanton, Calif., was hit hard with adverse weather conditions as well.
Danielle Diaz, head of public relations for Patelco CU, Pleasanton, with $4.1 billion in assets, said the credit union's branch in San Bruno was closed because of a power outage and flooding on nearby streets.
While any member headed to that branch was directed to the nearest branch in San Mateo, the majority of Patelco's branches fared well despite a "pretty ugly" day.
"As a precautionary measure, we encouraged the employees in hard-hit areas to telecommute during the peak of the storm," Diaz told News Now via email.
The actions taken by each credit union match closely with a number of steps that disaster preparedness firm Agility Recovery Services recommends in case of floods.
Agility Recovery, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, has put together a flood preparedness checklist that credit unions can refer to when making plans for such situations.