Navy Federal Credit Union and Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union have been playing important roles in the BP oil spill restoration.
The $40 billion Navy said last week that while BP turned aside its direct offer to provide volunteers for beach cleanup, the Vienna, Va.-based CU with major operations in Pensacola took part in key Chamber of Commerce programs providing assistance to businessmen and others suffering losses. Navy has also helped local groups seeking to stem the loss of tourist dollars.
Meanwhile, the $350 million Gulf Winds FCU of Pensacola, Fla., reported its matching donation campaign to assist the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida topped $68,000, and is expected to reach $100,000 by the end of August.
Since the funding pitch began in June, the Florida CU has received widespread support from local groups, the media and CU vendors that have donated cash for the nonprofit Pensacola agency whose staff has been involved in bird cleanup and care for injured animals from the start of the disaster.
"We've been through the hurricane disasters where you help out clearing roads, cutting trees and supplying food, but in something like this you have to find a way to protect, restore and rehabilitate wildlife that are affected by this disaster," said Chris Rutledge, Gulf Winds president/CEO. "Our wildlife cannot wait while lawsuits are settled. They will need our help now and long term."
Rutledge said he is particularly grateful for the financial support from his vendors, including CUNA Mutual, OSI Data Management, CBSI, Fiserv, Newtek, Duncan McCall Marketing, Allied Solutions, Sheeter Consulting and Corporate America. Gulf Winds has also set up a website, gogulfwinds.com, on behalf of the Gulf Winds Wildlife Relief Fund. Gulf Winds CU has committed a $50,000 matching donation.
Citing budget restraints, Rutledge said he is aware that not every Florida CU has the financial wherewithal to contribute to a charity in this manner. "We are lucky to have had a good year, a healthy 15% capital ratio because of a board that had some foresight so we could weather these kinds of conditions," he added.
At Navy, the CU's loan department has been striving to aid members hit by the catastrophe with workouts and favorable terms, officials said.
Debbie Calder, senior vice president of Navy's Greater Pensocola operations division, is also vice chair of the Pensacola Chamber. She has been helping oversee business recovery efforts with two members of her staff serving on special community units. Janice Kilgore, Navy's business continuity planner and a former Escambia County safety officer, has been guiding the CU in distributing health status reports, free situation counseling and other information for CU employees and families who live and work in Pensacola.
In addition, this month, Willard Dagnall, Navy's lead business accounts officer, has been named to the State of Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, which is slated to distribute small loans to beleaguered firms. That program offers $25,000 in no-interest small business loans for affected area firms.