FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/12/08)--Credit unions along the Texas gulf coast began closing yesterday in preparation for Hurricane Ike. Many are closed today and tomorrow, said the Texas Credit Union League. President Bush declared an emergency in Texas, and Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration and activated 7,500 National Guard troops in preparation for the Category 2 hurricane, which is expected to strengthen today. As of Thursday, officials have issued mandatory evacuation orders in Brazoria and parts of Matagorda County. Voluntary evacuation orders were ordered for Galveston, San Patricio and Victoria counties and parts of Jackson County and the City of Corpus Christi, said the league. Brazoria County, Galveston and other areas already have been hit by one hurricane--Hurricane Dolly in July. All Sabine area credit unions were under "mandatory evacuation" until further notice, said the league Thursday afternoon. A league representative in Corpus Christi, who spent Thursday calling credit unions, said credit unions there are either closed today and Saturday or are "playing it by ear." "The majority have a phone message for the members explaining that due to the weather/Hurricane Ike, they will be closing on such and such a date and will reopen on Monday," the rep told the league. They are referring members to their website and phone messages for updates. So far, several credit unions announced closures due to the weather, according to Linda Webb-Manon, league communications director. "This of course isn't all of them. Our league reps have been working diligently to keep in close contact with our credit unions in the affected areas." Some began closing at noon on Thursday, with an occasional branch closed earlier. All are either already closed today or closing sometime today, and all will be closed on Saturday:
* Mobiloil FCU, Beaumont; * Transtar FCU, Houston; * Houston Police FCU, Houston; * Liberty County Teachers FCU, Liberty; * TexasOne Community CU, Houston, closing at noon today; * InvesTex CU, Houston, closing at ll a.m.; * Houston Highway CU, closing at noon; * Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU, Houston, closing at noon; * Union Fidelity, Houston, closing at noon; * Primeway FCU, Houston; * El Paso Corp. FCU, Houston, closing at 3 p.m.; * United Energy CU, Houston, closing this afternoon; * First Service CU, Houston; * SPCO FCU, Houston; * Cy-Fair FCU, Houston, closing at noon; * USE CU, Houston, closing at noon; * First Community CU of Houston; * Brazos Valley Schools CU, Houston/Katy, closing at noon; * Smart Financial CU, Houston; * PIE CU, Houston; and * Members Choice CU, Houston, closing at noon.