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Southeastern CUs reporting power outages from Irene
MADISON, Wis. (8/30/11)--After assessing damage in the wake of Hurricane Irene on Monday, credit unions in the southeast U.S. emerged relatively unscathed, with limited branch closings caused primarily by power outages. Irene hit landfall at Cape Lookout, N.C., as a Category 1 hurricane with 80-115 mph winds. It became a tropical storm near New York City and New Jersey. In North Carolina, branch closures and some damage were reported near the direct path of the storm, but the main impact to operations was the loss of electrical power, according to the North Carolina Credit Union League. State Employees’ CU, based in Raleigh, reported by mid-morning Monday that six branches were closed. Another branch was scheduled to open at noon. Leigh Brady, SECU vice president of member education, said some branches could remain closed today and Wednesday because of power outages. She stressed members can access the credit union’s contact center and ATM network around the clock. Brady said two SECU branches suffered minor water damage, but overall the credit unions was “very, very fortunate.” Marine FCU, Jacksonville, N.C., reported that three branches were closed due to a lack of power. All locations were near the direct path of Irene and would be closed until power was restored. “They are all along the main roads, so we're hoping it won’t be too long,” said Marine FCU Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clark. Clark added that there was slight property damage, but branches would reopen when power was restored. The drive-through at Telco CU in Tarboro was closed as a result of damage from fallen tree limbs. Cleanup was underway and the branch lobby was open, the credit union reported. Tree limbs also snapped power lines at First Carolina People’s CU in Goldsboro and the branch was closed. Cleanup was underway, and branch staff reported that the credit union drive-through would be open Tuesday even if power had not yet been restored. “We’ll continue to follow up with the credit unions impacted to ensure they have all the resources they need,” said NCCUL President/CEO John Radebaugh. “With nice weather in the forecast the next several days, hopefully the credit unions will be able to get back to normal operations in the very near future.” Although no credit unions had reported property damage, Virginia credit unions were dealing with widespread power outages, according to the Virginia Credit Union League. “Dominion Power reports that 600,000 customers are still without power in Greater Hampton Roads, Richmond and Northern Virginia,” said Lewis Wood, vice president of public relations and communications for the Virginia league. “This has forced the closure of some branches in Greater Hampton Roads and Richmond. I don’t know of any Northern Virginia credit unions affected as of noon [Monday] by outages. At the height of the outages, Hurricane Irene had knocked out power to nearly 1 million customers in Virginia.” Chartway FCU, based in Virginia Beach, Va., has branches along the coast as far south as Florida and as far north as Rhode Island. It opened all branches as scheduled on Monday. “It was not as bad as we expected,” Chartway FCU President/CEO Ron Burniske said of Hurricane Irene. “We received a lot of rain but not the big winds that were forecasted.” Also, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) on Monday was working with state leagues to determine the need for relief efforts, according to Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications.


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