Corporate CUs keep tight grip on business operations during tragic attacks
ALBANY, N.Y. - Acting as clearinghouses for the nation's credit unions, corporate credit unions were on high alert on the day of the attacks for any shutdowns of the Federal Reserve Banks or the Fedline system that might cause delays in processing wires, funds transfers, item processing, ACH and other key business functions. Corporates, which do much of the item processing for CUs, reported that the grounding of all air traffic would cause unavoidable delays in item processing. Empire Corporate, the primary corporate serving New York CUs, worked feverishly throughout the day of the attack to get in contact with its member CUs in New York. "First and foremost we want to make sure everybody is OK. Our secondary concern is business operation. We're still trying to find ways to access those credit unions to help them out; deliver anything they need, such as supplies, cash," said Joe Herbst, Empire Corporate's president/CEO on the day of the attack. Herbst said Empire used every means of communication available - fax, Internet and phone - to make contact with its member CUs to offer Empire's assistance and inform the CUs of potential delays in item processing due to grounded airlines. Herbst said the corporate had trouble getting in touch with many of its member CUs in the city. Herbst reported that all of Empire's systems were up and running on the day of the attack, and that he was in constant communication with the region's NCUA office. "Having the airlines shut down impacts delivery to that region, share drafts may be delayed," said Herbst. He did say however that with many CUs in New York City shutting down because of cleanup efforts, they will not be accepting any share drafts so Empire will be about 99% on schedule. Southwest Corporate FCU sent out a bulletin to its member CUs that it was informed that the Fed's Fedline system might be shut down early on the day of the attack, and if so it would process wires on a "best efforts" basis. Southwest later learned that the shutdown would not happen and alerted CUs that wire processing was normal. It did, like most corporates, predict delays in item processing and said it would use additional ground transportation to help minimize delays. Even on the West Coast, corporates were affected, and had to get the word out about the status of services. "We want everyone to know that WesCorp is operating normally," said Walt Laskos, public relations rep for WesCorp. WesCorp was also concerned about a shutdown of the Fedline, but ultimately was only affected by grounded planes affecting item processing pick-ups.