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Leagues CUs eye Hanna and Ike and Josephine
MADISON, Wis. (9/4/08)--With tropical storms lined up across the Atlantic like ducks in a shooting gallery, leagues and credit unions are taking precautions to make sure they're prepared for any situation. Fresh from weathering Hurricane Gustav in the Gulf, credit unions' next area of concern is Tropical Storm Hanna, which was already strengthening Wednesday and was expected to resume hurricane status before the weekend, when it will hit the Southeast coast of the U.S. Behind Hanna lurks Hurricane Ike, which could strike the Caribbean by Sunday, followed by a weaker Tropical Storm Josephine. South Carolina Credit Union League President/CEO Gen. Garry Parks sent an alert to member credit unions Tuesday about Hanna. At that time Hanna had hurricane status and had been responsible for 25 deaths in Haiti. With the possible hurricane bearing down on the southeastern coast, credit unions must orient their attention to the potential impact of the storm, Parks said. He reminded credit unions of several league resources and CUNA Strategic Services disaster preparedness and recovery services (see resource links for services) and that the league would assist them in any way possible. The Georgia Credit Union Affiliates also sent out a "severe weather watch" alert Wednesday afternoon, said Anita Paul, director of communications. "Based on recent weather reports, it appears that Georgia could avoid the worst of these storms. However, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates advises all Georgia credit unions to take this opportunity to review your disaster and business continuity plans with your staff," said the alert. The alert noted that now is the time to set up voice messages using the VoiceGard system, a CUNA Strategic Service that is free to all credit unions regardless of their affiliation with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) or the league. Credit unions with other alert systems to advise members and staff of the credit union's status were encouraged to include the information on their website, their outgoing voicemail messages and any upcoming publications, statement stuffers and other materials, said the Georgia alert. The Florida Credit Union League is also monitoring the storm. "At this time, we're just monitoring the situation," Amy Jowers, league vice president of communications, told News Now. "The governor has issued a State of Emergency declaration for Florida to be 'on guard' and ready to assist should Florida be threatened by Hanna." The Florida league planned to have a conference call with federal and state regulators and Southeast Corporate this morning and would know more at that point, said Jowers Wednesday. "Fortunately for Florida, it looks like Hanna is skirting around us, but as always, we'll stay on top of this due to the unpredictable behavior that these storms have." Hanna's potential has leagues as far inland as Pennsylvania advising credit unions to review their business continuity plans and prepare emergency kits in advance of the storm in case there is significant flooding. Many credit unions' business continuity plans got a workout with two major storms: last month's Hurricane Fay, which caused flooding in Florida, and Monday's Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall on Louisiana soil as a Category Two hurricane.
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