Credit unions continue to assist to victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.
First Tech Federal Credit Union in Mountain View, Calif., has compiled a video detailing the story of how an organization came together to support and assist its membership and employees in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Most of the island was left without electricity, water, communication, and navigable roads. But leaders at First Tech headquarters first had to determine the condition of their employees.
“We didn’t even know how our people down there were doing,” Alex de la Cruz, First Tech senior vice president, experience center (retail) channel. “We knew there were casualties, and that people had been hurt, but to not have any idea about the condition and whereabouts of your people can be very disconcerting.”
First Tech not only helped its employees re-establish operations from Ground Zero, it also provided much needed supplies to help employees survive the devastation.
The effort included assistance from key credit union system partners. De la Cruz specifically mentioned CUNA and Baxter Credit Union in Vernon Hills, Ill.
The New York Credit Union Foundation has also provided ongoing assistance to Hurricane Maria victims. The foundation has dispersed $335,000 in grants to credit union employees and volunteers affected by the storm.
The grants have been provided to 671 individuals from 68 credit unions to help them cover the costs of food, clothing, water, damage to homes, gas and more.
About $53,000 in grants have been provided directly to the 29 credit unions, known as cooperativas, to assist them as they attempt to return to normal operations.
New York credit unions and credit union leaders have stepped up to support their peers in Puerto Rico, including Municipal Credit Union, which pledged a $50,000 donation to assist with the relief efforts.
At the World Council of Credit Unions, efforts are focused on members in Dominica, where credit unions were heavily damaged. A campaign sponsored by the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions raised more than $100,000 for victims.
The foundation is working with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions to offer assistance. Also, the Indiana Credit Union League is sending a mission to the island to help credit unions work through the impact on their portfolios, review service offerings and carry out strategic planning.