ALEXANDRIA, Va. (5/10/11)--Severe flooding continues to threaten areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and Louisiana, and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has responded by activating its disaster relief policy for those areas. The agency also has expanded its disaster relief response in Iowa after more heavy storms there. While press reports yesterday said it appeared the Mississippi River could rest Monday night--earliuer than previously expected--it will take some time for the predicted 48 feet of water to recede. The NCUA’s disaster relief policy is intended to assist credit unions and their members to deal with potential losses caused by disasters, such as this current flooding, which has threatened to match historic highs reached in 1927 when collapsed levees caused widespread flooding. The NCUA noted in a release that the river’s tributaries have been dumping more than twice their normal volume into the Mississippi since April 25. In response, the NCUA noted, President Obama last week declared that a major disaster exists in Louisiana and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local efforts. The president’s actions make federal funding available for the following affected parishes: Avoyelles, Ascension, Assumption, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Iberia, Iberville, LaSalle, Madison, Pointe Coupee, East Baton Rouge, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Tensas, Terrebonne, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. Also last week, the president declared that a major disaster exists in Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky because of the flooding. In Mississippi, the following counties are affected: Adams, Bolivar, Claiborne, Coahoma, DeSoto, Issaquena, Jefferson, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Wilkinson. In Tennessee, the following counties are affected: Dyer, Lake, Shelby, and Stewart. In Kentucky, the following counties are affected: Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Carter, Fleming, Gallatin, Kenton, Lawrence, Morgan, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen and Washington. Federal assistance is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout Kentucky. After severe storms hit Iowa April 9 and10, Obama declared the following counties a disaster area: Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Pocahontas, and Sac. Under the NCUA’s disaster assistance, the agency 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.
NCUA examiners will survey credit unions operating in flood- and storm-affected counties and parishes. Most credit unions remain open, although some branches affected by the disaster may have curtailed hours or services. During natural disasters, NCUA works with individual state league organizations and state regulators to ensure all federally insured credit unions know of NCUA’s available assistance. The agency’s examiners will therefore remained in close contact with the affected local 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.
Credit unions and credit union members in Iowa and Louisiana needing help because of these declarations may contact NCUA’s Region IV office in Austin at (512) 342-5600 during normal business hours. Credit unions and their members needing help in Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee may contact NCUA’s Region III office in Atlanta at (678) 443-3000.