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Hard-hit CUs Just being here means a lot
RAINSVILLE, Ala. (5/5/11)--The League of Southeastern Credit Unions, led by President/CEO Patrick La Pine, Tuesday delivered a mobile
Click to view larger image Pictured is the brick branch and drive through of the Rainsville, Ala., branch of Gadsden, Ala.-based Community CU as it looked before the building was demolished in last week’s tornados across the South.
Click to view larger image A flat slab and a pneumatic tube to a drive-through are what is left of Community CU’s Rainsville, Ala., branch after a tornado destroyed the brick building last week. In the background is a mobile branch leant to the credit union by Pen Air FCU of Pensacola, Fla. The League of Southeastern Credit Unions delivered the mobile branch Tuesday.
Click to view larger image Meeting Tuesday in the aftermath of last week’s tornadoes to deliver a mobile branch from Pen Air FCU, Pensacola, Fla., to Community CU’s Rainsville, Ala., branch are from left: Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU); Charlie Atchley, Community CU chairman; Joan Smith, Community CU chief operating officer; David Eubanks, Community CU CEO; Bill Berg, LSCU vice president, regulatory affairs; and Sharon Lett, director of human resources. (Photos provided by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions)
branch to a credit union whose Rainsville, Ala.-brick branch was flattened in last week's tornadoes that swept several Southern states. Meanwhile, credit unions have doubled their contributions to the fund activated to help credit union staff and members through the disaster. The mobile branch is from Pen Air FCU, Pensacola, Fla. The league drove it to Community CU headquarters in Gadsden, Ala., Tuesday and gave a tour of the branch to show how it worked. Then the league delivered it in Rainsville. "All that remains in Rainsville is one drive-up tube system; the rest is a flat slab," said Mike Bridges, LSCU vice president, marketing and communications. "Community set the mobile branch up Tuesday and expects to staff it Wednesday for service," he told News Now late Tuesday. Community CU CEO David Eubanks told the league's delegation, "Just being here means a lot. Now we have to get the word out that the ATM service is up and running and we can service our members." He also indicated that the credit union will begin the process of rebuilding. "He has already been in contact with the firm to begin putting building plans together," Bridges told News Now. The league also visited the Cullman area, which was hit hard, as well. Branch managers at Alabama CU, Listerhill CU and America's First CU said their branches are in good shape. America's First branch has been without power for a week. It is operating from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. "to capitalize on daylight," Bridges reported. The credit union met Tuesday afternoon with the city to learn when the electricity might be turned on again, he said Tuesday. The branch is "right off the main street of town," which was hit hard with major power outages, he said, adding that if the electricity doesn't return soon, it will need to bring in a mobile branch to serve members. Branch managers at Alabama CU and Listerhill told the league they were working with members to extend loan payments, waive late fees, and "generally do what they can to ease the burden on their members in this time of need," Bridges said. One Alabama CU branch employee is still without power. "Most of the rest of the credit union staff in the area are doing OK." Redstone FCU, Huntsville, is offering assistance to storm victims, it said in a press release. Power was restored in some areas, and all branches except branches on Redstone Arsenal and Highway 53, were open Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most ATMs are operational. Officials said that the credit union "understands the impact this disaster has brought upon our members by incurring many unplanned expenses. Qualifying members with RFCU personal and vehicle loans can request our Skip-A-Pay service." The service allows members to skip one month's payment with a temporarily waived processing fee. Redstone also is offering disaster recovery loans and emergency relief loans. The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) said that the credit union community has raised $30,000--double what it was Tuesday--after it activated its online disaster relief system, Credit unions in every state can donate through the secured website, which accepts credit cards and wire transfers. As donations post through, NCUF will coordinate with the credit union leagues across the southern part of the country to distribute money efficiently to credit union employees and members in the affected areas, said NCUF.
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