Talley was amazed by the industry’s cooperation and generosity following the attack, as people donated money and heartfelt gifts, including a signed quilt she still owns.
“People would also continually check in with me to see if they could help in any way,” she says.
As she recovered in the hospital, Downs missed her co-workers’ funerals. “So local credit unions put together a tribute video of all those employees, allowing me to grieve,” she says. “The generosity of credit unions helping locally and across the country was incredible, and we couldn’t have gotten through it without them.”
After the bombing, the National Credit Union Foundation worked to harness the credit union movement’s generosity for the first time. Collectively, the movement raised and the Foundation distributed $1.4 million in relief aid to the families of employees and members affected by the bombing.
This was the first time the Foundation distributed aid after disaster struck, essentially creating what is now CUAid.
Plus, industry partners like CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group provided a variety of assistance for FECU.
‘We will all discover new ways to serve our members because we are going to get creative, stronger, and more resilient.’
“I always knew the credit union difference because I saw it day in and day out through our CEO Florence Rogers,” says Downs. “But after the bombing, the ‘people helping people’ philosophy really shone through when our whole community came together to help us. Despite the horrible situation, you could see the beauty and the good of our movement.”
“I didn’t think too much about the credit union movement before the bombing,” Talley says. “It was just a job to me. This was the first time I thought outside myself and saw this bigger picture of our movement and how credit unions came together. We still act this way and we are still there for each other in times of need.”
Downs doesn’t believe Allegiance would exist today if not for how the credit union movement pulled together to help them in their greatest time of need. today, Allegiance is four times larger than at the time of the bombing, and it has come through stronger and more resilient.
“I can look in the mirror knowing I’ve spent almost 30 years of my career telling people they should trust their finances at a place that lives the credit union philosophies of people helping people and not for profit, not for charity, but for service,” Stratton says.
Downs’ message for credit unions struggling with the coronavirus outbreak: “Have faith in your resiliency. You can only control how you respond to this situation. We will all discover new ways to serve our members because we are going to get creative, stronger, and more resilient.
“This is the time for credit unions to put on their warrior paint and show our communities we are here for you and we can help you when you need it most.”
“Allegiance Credit Union continues to be resilient,” says Brent Rempe, senior vice president/chief strategy & growth officer. “As an Allegiance employee for the last nine months, the loss the credit union experienced is still very real today and the legacy of those lost lives on.
“New employees learn about the bombing and its impact in orientation, and the memory of those employees who were lost is never forgotten. Our credit union will never forget the generosity of the movement and the cooperative generosity that we received.”
FECU staff who died during the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building attack: