With power slowly being restored to portions of northern Alabama, most credit unions were reporting near-normal operations as CU-sponsored relief efforts and financial aid programs to victims of last week’s devastating tornadoes were being expanded.
At the same, CU leaders and regulators across the South were weighing and validating disaster preparedness plans with one, the $3 million Redstone FCU of Huntsville, Ala., reminding CUs elsewhere of the urgency of disaster recovery testing.
Citing Redstone’s ability to keep many of its ATMs operating on emergency generators with advance fuel orders, Roberta Rodgers, vice president of risk management, said, “Our team has done an outstanding job because we push for DR tests and tabletop exercises. I think there’ll be a lot less resistance from business units in the future when we say it’s time to update the plans or have a DR test.”
Writing to peer CU attorneys, Rodgers said her CU can “testify first hand just how important it is to plan for worst case scenario because worst case became reality here” last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions said it is keeping a running log on its website of how Alabama CUs are faring in recovering from the storms as they put branches back on line or receive assistance.
The $1 billion Pen Air FCU in Pensacola, Fla., said it has shipped more than 1,200 bottles of water to hard-hit communities in northern Alabama along with a mobile branch destined for Community CU in Gadsden, which lost its Rainsville branch.
Pen Air, which has three branches in southern Alabama, said its president/CEO, Ron Fields, personally drove the first round of supplies last week with the CU setting up collection drop off points for additional supplies.
“Pen Air is just trying to help out those who need it during this terrible time,” Fields said. “The spirit of Pen Air’s members and employees has always been one of community and this is no exception.”
At the national level, the National Credit Union Foundation said $5,000 in tornado donations were received over the weekend to its CUAid effort with that figure expected to rise substantially during the week.