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Leagues report damage updates from Sandy
ALBANY, N.Y., and HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (11/5/12)--CUNA Mutual Group reported Friday afternoon that it had received no new damage claims from credit unions impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The leagues in New York and New Jersey sent out updates Friday with the latest assessments of their states' credit unions impacted by last week's Superstorm Sandy.

Click to view larger image Credit Union Association of New York Senior Vice President Ron McLean, left, and SUMA FCU (Yonkers) Treasurer/Chief Operating Officer Ihor Makarenko unload the first of two generators provided by CUANY to provide electricity to the credit union after power went out when Hurricane Sandy hit the state last week.
Earlier last week CUNA Mutual Group had reported 25 credit unions were impacted, mostly through power outages but that it was still early in the assessment process. (See related News Now story: "Sandy so far: 25 CUs damaged, CUAid raises $65K.")

Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William J. Mellin provided an assessment for those in New York. "As you all know, the damage from Hurricane Sandy continues to impact many of our New York credit unions," said his message to member credit unions.

"I have spoken personally with several credit unions in the affected areas, and our member relations team is also working diligently to get in touch with more than 150 potentially impacted credit unions. As we reach them, we're collecting information about their operational status and needs. We have already coordinated resources like generators and laptops and will continue to do as much as possible," Mellin said.

Until power is restored in critical areas, it is difficult to fully assess the situation, he said, but added that so far, "the losses are significant.""

"We have faced other disasters, but what sets this apart is the vast number of credit union employees and members who have been impacted. In the most affected areas, there are more than two million credit union members. Countless are still without power and access to gas, heat and other basic necessities. Some have completely lost their homes. And they're all going to be looking to their credit unions for help as they begin to recover."

CUANY has reactivated the statewide Disaster Relief Fund through the New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF).  Use the New York foundation link for more information. Mellin also said credit unions will get a toolkit to help them with the relief effort.

(For an update on the credit union movement's fundraising efforts to help the affected credit unions, see related News Now story, "$82,000 raised by CUAid for hurricane victims.")

The National Credit Union Administration has been monitoring the status for more than 2,000 credit unions in the storm's path. "The vast majority of federally insured credit unions are fully operational; however, some are closed, and others are operating partially with branch closures, in temporary facilities, or with only ATM services. Affected credit unions are working to quickly restore normal operations," NCUA said.

Its examiners along the East Coast are checking with their credit unions to provide support and assistance, answering members' questions, and NCUA is expediting consideration of credit union emergency grant applications.

Click to view larger image Yonkers, N.Y.-based SUMA FCU Treasurer/Chief Operating Officer Ihor Makarenko is all smiles as the generators provided by the Credit Union Association of New York create electricity--and light--at the credit union in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Photos provided by the Credit Union Association of New York)
NCUA is experiencing a higher-than-usual call volume at its consumer assistance hotline (800-755-1030, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday). The agency has established a Hurricane Sandy information page on its website with a list of known credit unions temporarily closed by the storm or that are operational. Use the link.

New York University FCU was the first credit union to apply to NCUA for its emergency grants to restore service. It applied on Wednesday and approval was made Thursday, said NCUA. (See related News Now story: "Hurricane: NCUA reminds CUs, members help is available")

The New Jersey Credit Union League reported that of its total 66 Shared Branching outlets in the state, 41 were up and running, while 25 were still down as of 5 p.m. Friday.

The league has provided twice daily status reports. New reports and some changed-status reports are below. (For credit unions reported earlier and whose status hasn't changed, see related News Now story, "New reports on status of CUs in hurricane aftermath.") New status reports as of 5 p.m. ET Friday include:

  • 1st Bergen FCU--It is temporarily relocated to 291 Second St., Hackensack, N.J. Its hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The temporary phone number is 201-342-2936.
  • ABCO FCU--All branches are open and operating with normal business hours, except for the Rider University branch, which will reopen today.
  • ADP FCU--Branch office in Florham Park, N.J., was closed Friday. Branches in Roseland, N.J., and Alpharetta, Ga., are open during normal business hours.
  • Affinity FCU-- Most branches will be open during normal business hours, with the exception of these branches that are still without power: Bedminster (both the AT&T and Lamington Road locations), Morristown (Country Mile Village), New Providence, and Middletown. Online Banking, Mobile Banking and AUDREY (automated phone banking service) are fully operational. Standard 800 number is fully operational: 800-325-0808. Some Affinity ATMs are operational, specifically those in branches in Basking Ridge, Flemington and Paramus.
  • Atlantic FCU--Kenilworth, Newark and Elizabeth branches are now open with regular operating hours but running on generator power with limited staff.
  • City of Trenton Employees CU--Open and fully operational.
  • Credit Union of New Jersey--All branches are open except its ETS branch.
  • Deepwater FCU--Opened on Wednesday, was not damaged in any way, and running at full service.
  • Elizabeth NJ Fireman's FCU-- Has power but no connectivity. Optimum has crews in the area but no estimated time of repair. ACH, drafts, debit card, payroll deductions have been processed online. May get cash if not connected by today. Members have made withdrawals by debit card.
  • Financial Resources FCU--These New Jersey branches and the Member Service Center (Call Center) are open until 4 p.m.: Bridgewater, Somerset and Flemington. The Green Brook and Hillsborough branch remain closed due to power and telecommunications issues. All branches outside of New Jersey are open for normal business hours. ATMs are operational at these public locations: 1 New Amwell Road, Hillsborough, N.J.; 780 Easton Ave., Somerset, N.J.; 110 Rehill Ave., Somerville, N.J.; State Theatre of NJ, 11 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, N.J.; Residence Inn, 4225 US Highway 1, Monmouth Junction, N.J.; Jewish Renaissance Center, 275 Hobart St.; and Perth Amboy, N.J.  The 800 number is now operational at 800-933-3280 or via e-mail using the "Contact Us" link on home page. Online Banking, mobile, mobile apps and text message banking continue to be available.
  • First Financial FCU-- Neptune and Toms River Branches opened Friday at 9 a.m. with limited service. The credit union has declared an emergency situation, and will move its processing out of state. It expected to be fully operational in the next 48 to 72 hours. The Wall Township Reality Fair sponsored by First Financial FCU originally scheduled for today has been postponed.
  • Franklin St. John's CU--Its office is closed due to power outage; however, transactions are being processed remotely.  Members can contact Diane Murray at dlmurray02@aol.com.
  • Garden Savings FCU--All branches are open and operational. All electronic banking services have been available since Wednesday.
  • Israel Memorial A.M.E. FCU--Closed due to power outage.
  • Lakewood Community FCU--Closed due to power outage.
  • Liberty Savings FCU--Union City branch was open for business 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Local 32 Asbestos Workers FCU--Open and fully operational.
  • Messiah Baptist Church FCU--Open and fully operational.
  • MidState FCU--Opened Friday, but without power. Members can cash pay checks, make withdrawals, make payments, etc. Power estimated to come back up in two weeks.
  • Morristown FCU--Has been open at both branches since Tuesday working regular scheduled hours.
  • Picatinny FCU--Main branch in Rockaway, Denville, and Arsenal branches are fully operational. Mt. Olive branch is closed due to power outage.
  • Piscataway Township Employees FCU--Open and fully operational.
  • Port Ivory FCU--Closed due to power outage.
  • Prime FCU--Open and fully operational.
  • Princeton FCU-- Fully up and running as of Wednesday.
  • Public Service FCU--Still without power and Internet; operating from a remote location for back office processing. Staff is at the office to answer phone calls during the day. Debit, ACH, and share drafts are  OK, does not have VRU and Home Banking at the present time.
  • United Teletech FCU--Tinton Falls branch is open. Due to local curfews, the credit union has modified hours (lobby open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., drive-up from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended hours on Saturday to 3 p.m.). Neptune Branch  opened Friday and has a working ATM. North Brunswick Branch opened Friday but does not have a working ATM. All other locations are closed pending the restoration of power.
  • Unity FCU-- Open and fully operational.
  • West Orange Municipal FCU--Power restored to second floor of building, is off generator but Internet and phone lines do not run up to second floor.
  • XCEL FCU--Bloomfield, N.J. office OK, but most branch staff depend on PATH and New York subways for transportation. Fed Plaza branch in Manhattan has power and will open today. Journal Square branch in Jersey City will remain closed until further notice. Branch at 3680 Kennedy Blvd. in Jersey City is open. All ACH and share drafts were posted remotely each day.
The league also reported that Edwards & Edwards, which provides legal service to numerous New Jersey credit unions and the league, reopened Friday after electrical power was restored.

Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order pertaining to damages, which urges financial institutions, insurance industry and real estate industry to take into consideration the difficulties related to Sandy and exercise "appropriate forbearances on collection, cancellation, documentation and other regulatory requirements including, but not limited to notifications of hospital admissions, due dates for claim filings, premium and loan payments and late fees, prior authorization requirements and limitations on prescription refills.

Also, in Pennsylvania, Bucks First FCU, Bristol, was experiencing intermittent loss of power and phone service as workers tried to restore power to the area, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (Life is a Highway Nov. 2). Bucks County experienced the largest number of power outages in the state.

In Maine, the Maine Credit Union League reported that power outages were the biggest impact of the hurricane in that state (Weekly Update Nov. 2). Among those losing power were Ocean Communities FCU at its York and Westbrook branches, and PeoplesChoice CU's Wells branch. By Tuesday afternoon, both reported power was back up and they were operating normally, said the league.
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