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Florida CUs prepared for Fay
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (8/19/08)--As Tropical Storm Fay drenched southwestern Florida Monday with 60 mph winds as of 5 p.m. EDT, credit unions all along the way were preparing for a possible hurricane. Florida's Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) issued a proclamation Monday allowing financial institutions to remain closed until emergency conditions have passed, said Amy Jowers, vice president of communications at the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL). "With that, we've received notification from several credit unions that they have closed their branches and call centers in the Pembroke Pines and Sarasota areas," she told News Now late Monday afternoon. "Some are saying they will remain closed all day Tuesday; others have said they will reopen if the storm passes over." In May, the league conducted its annual disaster workshop in May "to provide strategies to our credit unions to assist them in preparing for the hurricane season, i.e. how to safe-guard their credit union, and provide valuable tips on how to create a well-prepared plan of action," Jowers said. FCUL also provides credit unions with two communications tools that assist in disseminating important information in a disaster to their members (through CU LOCATE) and to their staff. For members, credit unions can offer CU Locate. And the FCUL Disaster Hotline, 888-FCULSOS (888-328-5767), is available 24/7 for credit unions' use in communicating with their staff. "It was specifically established as a way for our credit unions to provide information to their employees during a disaster such as a hurricane or other crisis in which the credit union's primary communications are down," she said. "Once a message is set up, if a disaster occurs, employees can call the toll-free number and punch in the credit union's assigned store ID/extension to hear important information regarding the status of the credit union." Also, each year the league asks credit unions to update the emergency contact information for CEOs and key staffers so they can be reached on their cell phone or a number other than the credit union's. Today, the league will start daily conference calls with the National Credit Union Administration and OFR, she said. Last year, the league, NCUA and OFR arranged to share information about credit unions in need through a special page on the league's website, "It is already up and running with the latest status of credit union closings," Jowers said. Jowers noted that the league also has five generators, as well as satellite phones, that can be shipped to credit unions in need. "I'm keeping my fingers crossed and saying a little prayer that Fay will dissipate fairly fast without much damage," Jowers told News Now.
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