MADISON, Wis. (11/10/09)--As Atlantic hurricane season comes to a close Nov. 30, credit unions in the Southeastern U.S. prepared for Tropical Storm Ida, which was supposed to affect parts of the Gulf Coast early this morning. Ida was downgraded Monday to a tropical storm from a hurricane. Affected states include Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The League of Southeastern Credit Unions sent communications in Alabama and Florida to its credit unions about the storm, Amy Jowers, vice president of communications, told News Now. Florida was experiencing a “lot of rain and wind.” Gov. Charlie Crist has issued an executive notice saying that financial institutions could close because of the storm, Jowers said. Gulf Winds CU, Pensacola, Fla., said it would close its branches and contact center at 3 p.m. ET Monday. The credit union also is prepared to be closed today. If the storm dissipates, the branches and contact center may re-open, the credit union said (NorthEscambia.com Nov. 9). The credit union plans to post updates on its website, gogulfwinds.com. It reminded members that even though the branches are closed, they can still use ATMs and conduct transactions through online and phone banking, the newspaper said. The Mississippi Credit Union Association has talked with several credit unions about preparations for Ida. Several credit union branches in the Mobile, Ala., area will close, because the storm will likely hit in the northern and northeastern quadrant of Mississippi near Alabama, Charles Elliott, association president/CEO, told News Now. “We’re not expecting a whole lot,” Elliott said. “Everyone has disaster plans in place, and some credit unions are planning to close their branches tomorrow morning. Some schools are closing--which may affect employees at credit unions.” The association is located about 170 miles north of the Gulf Coast in Jackson. As of press time, Elliott said the weather was okay. “There may be wind and rain later in the week,” he said. Communication is the most essential part of Louisiana credit unions’ disaster plans, according to Lacey Hyer, public relations specialist at the Louisiana Credit Union League. Hyer told News Now that the league has been in contact with credit unions about the storm and would continue to monitor the situation.