WASHINGTON and ST. LOUIS (5/25/11)--Four credit unions damaged in the massive tornado Sunday in Joplin, Mo., are operating, with one relocating its Joplin operations to another branch until further notice. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board reminded that its disaster relief policy will assist credit unions and their members in dealing with local recovery efforts. Missouri credit unions are open, but some Joplin branches are closed as they work to fix storm damage, repair telephone lines and restore electricity, said NCUA. The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) provided an update Tuesday afternoon on the four Joplin credit union branches that reported varying degrees of damages. All of them are distributing forms for CUAid.coop, said Amy M. Bucaida, vice president, marketing and communications at MCUA. CUAid.coop is the online disaster relief system activated by the National Credit Union Foundation to raise funds for credit union people affected by the Missouri twister. To make contributions to the fund, use the link. Here's the status of the credit unions:
* District 7 Highway CU, which had minimal damage and was without power or a telephone on Monday, reported Tuesday that its offices are open and business is being conducted as usual. Its operations were not terribly affected by the storm, said Bucaida. * Postal Federal Community CU's Joplin branch opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday, ready to do business, said MCUA. Its branch, a CO-OP Network shared branch, was severely damaged with windows blown out and was closed on Monday (News Now May 24). * Great Plains FCU has moved its Joplin operations to its Carthage branch. "We have not received any information as to when they believe the Joplin branch will be up and running," said MCUA. On Monday, Great Plains' President Ken Martin had said the branch had damages and advised employees to stay home while the Missouri National Guard continued to search for more victims. MCUA noted that the credit union's staff "are very happy to have CUAid and have commented they are really appreciative of the help they've received." * Joplin Metro CU, which sustained minor damage at several branches, reported Tuesday to the association that its branches are up and running and that it "would get CUAid forms today."
NCUA said that under its disaster assistance policy, it will, where necessary:
* Encourage credit unions to make loans with special terms and reduced documentation to affected members; * Reschedule routine examinations of affected credit unions, if necessary; * Guarantee lines of credit for credit unions through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; and * Make loans to meet the liquidity needs of member credit unions through the Central Liquidity Facility.
The agency will work with Missouri state league organizations and state regulators to ensure all federally insured credit unions know about NCUA's available assistance. Agency examiners will remain in close contact with the affected credit unions to offer advice and assistance. During disaster conditions, NCUA personnel operate under three priorities:
* Ensure the safety of credit union staff; * Keep facilities and operations available to members; and * Provide material and technical assistance, as needed, to affected credit unions.
Federal credit unions may also provide assistance to other credit unions and non-members in the affected areas under certain conditions:
* A federal credit union may provide services to persons who are members of another credit union under their correspondent services authority. * Emergency financial services for non-members, including check cashing, access to ATM networks, or other services to meet short-term emergency needs of individuals in the areas affected by the storms, can be provided under the authority to engage in charitable activities. * Federal credit unions providing services on a charitable basis may not impose charges for services that exceed their direct costs.
NCUA's Region IV office in Austin can be contacted at 512-342-5600 during normal business hours to assist credit unions and members needing help in Joplin. Previous presidential disaster declarations already cover Joplin, which means NCUA's services were in effect at the time the tornado hit. While tornados are in the news, CUNA Strategic Services provider Agility Recovery noted that it is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. Agility is hosting a webinar today on preparing for the hurricane season. Use the link for more information.