A credit union headquartered in Oklahoma City has begun offering its members loans they can use to finance the construction of tornado shelters. This year has been a record year for killer tornadoes across the Midwest and South.
“We’ve got members in all the affected areas. We want to do our part to help make storm shelters financially feasible”, said Larry Shropshire, CEO of Communication Federal Credit Union. “These tornadoes made us realize the necessity of an affordable, convenient shelter program. Many people simply don’t have a shelter or get caught trying to make it to shelter.”
Communication has roughly 47,000 members and $800 million in assets.
The credit union said the loans would be available to home owning members living in Oklahoma and Kansas and that the interest rates would be 2.99% over the course of the loan. Communications also indicated it had some flexibility in the program to make sure that families found the loans sufficiently affordable that the shelters got built.
Stephen Lark, vice president of marketing for Communication, reported that Communication began offering the loans the day after a series of storms hit the Oklahoma City area and that the CU had approved roughly 60 and, so far, had booked 10.
“We are seeing loan amounts ranging from $3000 to $12,000,” Lark said, adding that the shelters ranged from those built underground or into basements to full on “safe rooms” that people were building into their houses. The latter are particularly popular, he said, for members with a disability that preclude their being able to make it down stairs into an underground shelter.