Credit unions across parts of the Midwest, particularly in southern Illinois and Missouri, were implementing their emergency disaster plans and galvanizing relief efforts Thursday to aid victims of the series of nighttime tornadoes which destroyed homes and businesses and killed at least 12 people.
There were no reported injuries or damage at credit unions though at least two remained closed in hard-hit Harrisburg, Ill., with delayed openings in Tennessee and Branson, Mo.
“When something like this hits, we in credit unions down here are all close enough we can easily help out one another,” said Sheila Reichert, CEO of the $14 million River to River CU in Vienna, 40 minutes away from Harrisburg.
Reichert, who is past president of the Egyptian Chapter of the Illinois Credit Union League, said her CU offered office space and furniture to the $7 million Southeastern Electric FCU of Harrisburg, but said none was needed and that CU remains closed.
Adopting new alert systems, the Tennessee Credit Union League said it was preparing its members for what could be another night of devastating storms as National Weather Service warnings were being issued Thursday.
“We actually learned quite a bit on how to improve our operation after the 2008 tornado that hit Jackson,” said Tom Gaines, president/CEO of the league, citing the so-called Super 8 twisters that ravaged the eastern Tennessee city.
The league said it has been able to revise its notification system with CUNA Mutual, regulators and the shared branch network to quicken the process of getting impacted CUs back in operation and members served.