Within Hours Of Tornado, Lebanon FCU Has Plan In Place To Assist Local Community

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Within hours after a tornado touched down in Lebanon County, destroying 32 homes and damaging 87 others, Lebanon Federal Credit Union had a disaster plan in place.

The CU with $98 million in assets told affected members that they could borrow up to $2,500 at 0% interest for 12 months to help with emergency needs. In addition, they could pay only the interest on their mortgage and skip any other consumer loan payments for a month.

"We realize it is our responsibility to give back to our community, especially in times of need," said CEO Patricia Hain. "Right away, we thought we should do something to help."

In addition, CU officials said they would match donations up to $10,000 for the United Way Disaster Relief Fund, raising nearly $20,000 in just two weeks.

"I'm very proud of our local community for coming together to help others, but I am especially proud of our employees, members, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, the Credit Union Foundation and other credit unions in Pennsylvania that helped us raise over $19,000 in just two weeks to help the families that were left without homes in this tornado," said Glenn Rambler, VP, Business Services.

The CU's effort to support a worthy cause came as no surprise to many in this tight-knit community who have been recipients of its generosity throughout the years.

The local fire department, for example, has a new fire engine, thanks in part to LFCU's $1,000 donation.

Lutheran Christian Ministries was able to stockpile its shelves with food and clothing for the needy after a "Credit Union Week" drive to collect donations.

And, United Way was handed a check for $4,000, money raised from a credit union dunk booth.

"One organization that I feel a particular kinship to is Safe Kids, a program run by the city police," Hain said, explaining that the organization provides tools and information to keep children safe. That includes taking photos, fingerprints and DNA samples of children for file and offering bike safety courses.

Not only did the CU purchase some 395 helmets that were distributed throughout the community, they donated $900 worth of photo equipment after officials there learned that the equipment they had was malfunctioning.

And, after Hain's husband had heart problems and had to travel to an adjacent county for medical services because they were not available in Lebanon, her CU was inspired to pledge $30,000 over the next 10 years to its local Good Samaritan Hospital for a cardiovascular facility to be built locally.

"The share holders are our members," Hain said. "We realize that without them, we wouldn't be here. So, we feel, it is our responsibility to do what we can for them."

LFCU was formed in 1969 for the area's aluminum factory workers.

In 1971, Hain's husband, who was a charter member, said the board wanted her to become its treasurer. "I remember it well," Hain said. "I went into the hospital on a Wednesday night where I had my second son. While I was there, they voted me in as treasurer. So I came home with a new baby and a new career."

At the time, she said, the CU had only $167,000 in assets and 163 members. For 14 years, she operated the institution from her home. "I even started checking accounts from my basement," she said.

Since then, the CU has grown and moved several times and presently has two offices.

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