Weary Northeast Credit Unions Are Still Coping With Irene Flood Fallout
For the third week in a row, Northeast credit unions were doing the disaster drill, coping with flooded property, providing special loan deals to stricken members, aiding their own employees and assessing potential mortgage losses on portfolios..
Across at least five states–Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire–CUs and their trade groups were again on the frontlines of fundraising to assist the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Foodbank and other charities with donations.
One Pennsylvania CU in a hard-hit flood zone, the $130 million M-C FCU of Danville, Pa. received favorable media coverage and an outpouring of donations after it ran a radio spot airing in support of local relief efforts.
“We had 30 bags of donated clothing received in our lobby within a day, but it was all for a good cause,” said James Barbarich, president CEO who in the radio spot asked donations of cash, supplies and clothing to help victims of recent flooding. The CU also used its website and Facebook page to deliver its message.
In its announcement, Barbarich said, “Our region has just experienced a catastrophic event that has changed our landscape and touched many lives. To our neighbors in the five counties we serve who have suffered, our hearts and prayers are with you and in the credit union tradition of people helping people, M-C is joining forces with local disaster relief agencies to help in the clean up and rebuilding.”
Cash donations, clean up supplies and clothing accepted at M-C branches were to be distributed to the Red Cross for flood victim relief, said the ad. The message also advised members that the CU was available to help develop a financial recovery plan.
“I am reaching out to the 12,000 M-C Federal Credit Union members to pay it forward and take an active role in helping our neighbors. People helping people is the foundation of M-C Federal Credit Union, and it is what makes our country a great place to live,” Barbarich broadcast.
The CU also dispatched 20% of its work force for clean-up duty in neighboring Bloomsburg, where the CU has a branch and which was severely flooded.
In New Hampshire, the $1.8 billion Service CU of Portsmouth presented a $125,000 check to Gov. John Lynch to assist with rebuilding and clean up caused by tropical storm Irene Aug. 28.
The state’s chief executive called the donation from the Portsmouth CU “extraordinarily generous” and said it would go a long way toward helping people impacted by last month’s storms.
In a statement, Lynch lauded everyone at Service Credit Union and its president/CEO, Gordon Simmons, as a “proven leader in helping the people of New Hampshire.”
In hard-hit Vermont, the Association of Vermont Credit Unions was holding this month a special 50/50 raffle to aid in disaster relief in conjunction with CUAid, the online disaster aid vehicle of the National Credit Union Foundation.
AVCU said $10 ticket purchases were starting to come in from participating Vermont CUs for the Oct. 15 raffle in which half of the receipts go to a lucky winner and the remainder to Vermont victims of Irene flooding.
AVCU noted that Irene “wreaked havoc on much of Vermont as recovery efforts continue with disaster funds at the Red Cross, the Vermont Foodbank and innumerable other local outlets performing wonders in supporting urgent and immediate needs like food clothing, shelter and supplies.”
Joining other area state leagues in activating CU contributions for disaster relief, the Credit Union Association said its foundation has launched a disaster relief fund to help CU employees and members severely affected by Irene, tropical storm Lee and subsequent storms that left most of the southern tier area underwater for days.