Vermont/Mid-Atlantic CUs Coping with Irene Outages
Power and communication outages continued to plague credit unions today in parts of Vermont and the Mid-Atlantic states in the wake of Hurricane Irene, although many CUs reported conditions back to normal.
“This is a necessary drill you have to go through and I can say we’ve had some nor’easters worse than what hit us but I’m glad to report all of our branches are open today,” said Ron Burniske, president/CEO of the $1.8 billion Chartway FCU of Virginia Beach.
The Association of Vermont Credit Unions undertaking an Irene damage survey said only two CUs in the hard-hit Rutland and Brattleboro areas have been heard from, although cell phone/telecommunication disruptions may be to blame.
“Lots of credit union members can’t leave their homes and are stranded by the high flood waters, much of it happening in the mountains and ridges along Route 100,” said Joe Bergeron, president/CEO, noting there have been no reports of significant CU damage.
Branches closed early Friday in at least four states: Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
Maryland CUs, meanwhile, appear to have largely escaped the hurricane's wrath.
“While credit unions were well prepared with contingency plans, we are relieved to report that outside of scattered power outages, there appears to be no major damage in the wake of Irene,” said Jennifer Simmons, interim CEO and chief membership officer for the Maryland & DC Credit Union Association.
At Chartway, all of the power at its branches was back on by 10 a.m. Sunday.
There’s no doubt that Irene disaster preparations were necessary “since it all could have been much worse," Burniske said, adding jokingly, "but also I think it was a good chance for the Weather Channel to sell advertising.”