CUs Assess Storm Damage
NEW YORK – Credit unions across the East Coast and Northeast are reporting shuttered branches and power outages as the result of Hurricane Irene, with many still struggling to assess damage to both their own operations and those of members.
For credit unions in New York City, the big issue right now is transportation. Municipal Credit Union said its branches are open but operating with skeleton crews. “Everyone here is struggling to get to work,” said Michael Mattone, MCU’s corporate communications manager of marketing. Most New York subways and trains are not operating. Outside the city, “Long Island was the hardest hit with a lot of electric outages,” shared league spokesperson Bonnie Sklar. “So it’s business as usual at some credit unions, or some credit unions are busy doing what they need to do deal with the affects of this storm.”
Meanwhile, in Vermont, a state unaccustomed to feeling the wrath of hurricanes, it is still too early to make a call on the status of credit unions being affected by severe flooding, said Joseph Bergeron, president of the Association of Vermont CUs. “We are in the process of checking now. We have not found yet that credit unions were damaged, but we believe we know some branches are closed due to telecommunications and power outages. Rutland County was the worst hit.”
The New Jersey league reported it, too, is just beginning to assess the effects of Irene on credit unions, and had yet to hear from any CUs reporting significant damage. But that could change. “We have a lot of residual flooding from rivers and lakes. North Jersey flooding is a serious issue now.”
In Virginia there were no reports of damage to facilities, though some credit unions remain without power, including three branches of First Advantage CU and facilities operated by Northern Star FCU. More than 600,000 people are without electricity.
In North Carolina, Jacksonville-based Marine FCU has three branches without power that also experienced some damage. CEO Craig Chamberlin said many branches are suffering from water damage, including rising water. Additionally, the Swansboro branch will need to have its roof replaced. “They said [the storm] was a strong Category 1, but it was as bad as any Category 3 we’ve had down here, in my opinion,” said Chamberlin.