MADISON, Wis. (4/29/11)--Although Alabama was hardest hit by the tornado system that wreaked havoc on Wednesday, several Southern states in the path of the system reported their credit unions were lucky--few reported damages. However, their members had losses, and one credit union in Mississippi report the deaths of two members, a couple. Mississippi endured two days of constant, brutal winds accompanied by sporadic and often wide-spread outbreaks of severe storms, said the Mississippi Credit Union Association, based in Jackson. “Association staff kept live weather reports and radar on at the office and home to monitor the situation,” Amy Manley, association corporate relations manager, told News Now
. “We followed up with credit unions in areas we knew to be affected by the most severe weather. No Mississippi credit union reported damage.” The association contacted its credit unions and received some reports:
* Central Sunbelt FCU, Laurel, Miss., learned that a married couple who were members of the credit union were killed in the tornado that spun through Smith and Jasper counties. * Two credit unions in northeast Mississippi--Northeast Mississippi Health Services EFCU, Tupelo, and AMPOT FCU, Hamilton--reported members with “tremendous loss, both homes and family members,” from the Smithville area. The tiny rural town of Smithville, Monroe County, with a population of only about 900, was devastated by the storm and has an unconfirmed death toll of more than 10 people.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency received initial reports of damages from 48 of the 82 counties statewide and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. There are 32 confirmed fatalities in Mississippi at this time. As of press time, no information was received by News Now
from the Tennessee Credit Union League or credit unions in that state. Media reports indicate 33 confirmed fatalities in Tennessee so far, due to the tornadoes. News Now
also checked in with leagues in Virginia, Georgia, and Arkansas. Virginia credit unions reported no injuries, property damage or service disruptions, according Lewis Wood, vice president of public relations and communications for the Virginia Credit Union League. Virginia credit unions responding to News Now
inquiries also reported no damages or injuries Virginia CU’s Farmville branch, located in one of the state’s areas hardest hit by tornadoes, was fully operational on Thursday. Chartway FCU, based in Virginia Beach City, also reported it was fully operational. Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) reported that Georgia credit unions appear to have escaped major damages. “We checked in with our credit unions, and there were no branch closings,” said Anita Paul, director of communications for the GCUA. “We had reports of a few power outages that delayed openings, but overall Georgia credit unions appear to have been very fortunate.” In Arkansas, Reta Kahley, president/CEO of the Arkansas Credit Union League, reported to CUNA that credit unions there "were very lucky. We maintained power throughout the terrible storms. Cities north and west of us didn't fare so well, especially Vilonia. All my credit unions came through unscathed, but many members have lost their homes and belongings." For the reports on Alabama credit unions, see related story in System "Alabama CUs damaged in Wednesday's tornadoes."