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CEO hunkered down at CU during Ike
BEAUMONT, Texas (9/19/08)--On the night of Friday, Sept. 12, MobilOil FCU president/CEO Kim Heinze took air mattresses, her two sons--ages 16 and 20--and stayed at MobilOil’s headquarters in Beaumont, Texas, when Hurricane Ike made landfall in the Houston area early Saturday morning. The headquarters building was built in 2004 and survived Hurricane Rita in September 2005. “I knew how much steel was in it,” Heinze told News Now. “I felt perfectly safe riding this one out here.” Heinze lives in Bridge City, which was one of the areas most affected by the storm. Her home was flooded. She is currently renting an apartment near the credit union. While riding out the hurricane at the headquarters building, Heinze and her sons watched the power go out at 12:45 a.m. Saturday. The credit union’s natural-gas powered generator, which the board agreed to buy two years ago, powered up immediately. “It never skipped a beat,” Heinze recalled. The generator powers the credit union's immediate operations--the security, drive-up teller, ATMs onsite, cash dispensers, outlets in the call center, accounting and information technology areas--even the refrigerators in the break rooms, she said. However, the credit union does not power everything--such as air conditioning. “We’re hoping the power will go back on this week,” she said. “I’ve seen what a benefit [the generator] was,” Heinze added. “Our web, online banking, core data processing and phones never went down.” The credit union never lost water or sewer, and there weren’t any broken windows, she said. The credit union reopened on Monday. Mobiloil has six branches--and its Jasper branch, located about 60 miles north of Beaumont, has been running at full-service. The Treadway and Delaware branches opened Tuesday. About half of Mobiloil’s staff is back to work. Employees had “all sorts of flooding,” Heinze said. They lost cars, had flooded homes, and one employee on the coast completely lost a home. Two of the credit union’s ATMs also were affected by the storm. One was completely submerged in water, she said. Mobiloil has conducted a “huge amount” of transactions through Shared Branching with Credit Union Service Centers, she said. It also has helped other credit unions in the area perform transactions. Members have been arriving at the credit union and thanking staff for service. The marketing team has been interviewing them about the status of their homes as they came in, Heinze said. The credit union also helped local businesses through the ordeal. On Sunday, Heinze went to a CVS pharmacy two blocks from the credit union’s headquarters after Ike hit to buy some sodas and snacks for her sons. She wore her Mobiloil nametag, and one of the CVS employees noticed. “He said, ‘You aren’t open, are you? I’m afraid we’re going to have to close our doors because we’re running out of denominations, especially $1 bills,’” she told News Now. Heinze walked back to the credit union and met the branch manager, who told her that the vault would be locked until Monday. However, the credit union’s cash dispensing system was up and running because of the generator. This enabled them to deliver several hundreds of $1 bills to CVS. “They were so thankful,” Heinze said. “They’ve been open ever since.” Mobiloil employees also have been helping each other with things like cutting up downed trees. “Morale is up,” she said. “Everything is going to be fine.” Mobiloil has $242 million in assets.
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