Southeast credit unions, striving to serve and assist victims of the BP Oil Spill, are hoping they have a friend on loan guarantees in the government's claims czar, Kenneth Feinberg.
On Sunday, leaders from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions met with Feinberg, administrator of the $20 billion Gulf Coast Compensation Fund at the Birmingham airport to discuss league plans to aid in the recovery effort through claims assistance and loan guarantees.
"We had requested our meeting with Feinberg to explore ways Gulf Coast credit unions might help out in several areas including cashing of checks paid to claimants and utilizing the compensation fund to serve as a loan guarantor on small loans made by credit unions," said a spokesman.
Feinberg, who met with Patrick La Pine, LSCU CEO, and Will McCarty, senior vice president of government affairs for 30 minutes, said he would talk to BP officials about the guarantee idea but that "existing regulations and legal requirements won't allow for the fund to guarantee loans by credit unions and banks,"
"Feinberg did commit to speak to BP CEO Robert Dudley about this issue. He promised to convey the message to BP that it would be in their interest to work with credit unions to assist individuals affected by the spill, and that BP guaranteeing loans would be a wise investment on their part," said an LSCU statement.
The claims czar, said LSCU, also "recognized the value of strong credit union response to the financial impact of the oil spill" adding that "knowing that credit unions have the closest relationship to their members, he agreed that credit unions could offer help financially and serve as a great source of information for people who need to file claims."
The meeting with Feinberg came a day before a special LSCU-sponsored workshop/webinar entitled "Credit Union Response to the Gulf Oil Spill" held at Pen Air FCU in Pensacola. The phone-in session drew 30 CEOs and regulators representing Alabama, Florida Louisiana and Mississippi, discussing how CUs and examiners should be treating small business and consumer loans tied to the oil spill.