MADISON, Wis. - Facilities of two credit unions located at the World Trade Center were completely destroyed by the terrorist attacks involving two hijacked jetliners, but at press time it appears that all credit union employees survived. According to CUNA Mutual, which provides bond and other insurance coverage to the two CUs most impacted, there were actually four CUs in the immediate vicinity of the two terrorist strikes. The headquarters for the $60 million XCEL FCU, formerly Port Authority of New York and New Jersey FCU, was located on the 39th floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, and was completely destroyed. At press time, the CU moved its World Trade Center operations across the river to one of its branches in Jersey City, and was offering expanded business hours. No credit union officials could be reached. "CUNA Mutual has made direct contact with the CEO or a key individual at all of the credit unions affected. It's with heartfelt relief we can report all employees have been accounted for," said Syd Lindner, PR spokesperson for CUNA Mutual. "There are no reported deaths to credit union employees, however, employees from XCEL FCU and Municipal CU did sustain what's belived to be minor injuries caused by falling debris. The impact emotionally will undoubtedly be much more severe," said Lindner. FAA Eastern Region FCU had a branch facility located at tower 6 of the World Trade Center. That branch was completely destroyed, and the CU was in the midst of activating its contingency plan. "As of right now all our branches, except for our New Jersey branch, have been closed," said Kyle Jones, member service representative for FAA ERFCU. Jones said six of the CU's branches were closed, including one in New Hampshire and Virginia. At press time, he was not sure when the branches would be reopened. "Thankfully we received word that all employees were evacuated and made it safely out (of the World Trade Center)," said Jones. The $810 million Municipal CU has a branch office located within three blocks of the World Trade Center that was not directly damaged, but employees were evacuated and the office was closed. Due to a citywide lockdown, it was unclear when the branch would be reopened. At press time, the CU was making plans to set up temporary offices at another location. The $4 billion Pentagon FCU, with headquarters in Alexandria, Va., had a branch office in the Pentagon. The Pentagon was also attacked by a hijacked airliner, but Pentagon FCU's branch office there was not damaged. At press time the CU hoped to open the office in a few days following the attack. A special account has been set up at Empire Corporate FCU, the primary corporate serving New York CUs, by the New York State CU Foundation for donations to be accepted to help CU staff members, volunteers and members affected by the attacks. "Right now we're trying to facilitate as much accurate information as we can. We set up a separate account here at Empire with our foundation for donations. A number of organizations have already made contributions. We're sharing our information with Empire Corporate and CUNA Mutual. That's pretty much the role we are playing right now," said Bill Mellin, president/CEO of the New York CU League. Joe Herbst, president/CEO of Empire Corporate, worked doggedly along with Empire's staff to get in touch with its member CUs in New York City on the day of the attack. "We've got in touch with most of them at this point. There's still a state of disarray in New York. XCEL is up and running in New Jersey. Many other credit unions there have closed down. Nobody can get access to any of the city's credit unions anyway because of the lockdown," said Herbst. Empire Corporate, the NYCUL, and CUNA Mutual were also working on getting counselors to consult with anyone connected with the CUs who was touched by the attack. "Some of the staff will be dramatically affected by this encounter. Whether you saw it on television or were there, you were impacted. We're trying to get them some professional help," said Mellin. At press time, CUNA Mutual was attempting to dispatch disaster teams to New York, but the teams were unable to get flights to New York. According to Lindner, one of CUNA Mutual's major tasks in any catastrophe is to identify employees and CU members impacted that may be covered under a CUNA Mutual policy. "The sooner we're able to do that the greater service we'll be able to provide," said Lindner, who noted that CUNA Mutual can handle any volume of losses stemming from the tragedy. -email@example.com
Two credit union facilities destroyed; all credit union employees survive
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