Credit unions operating all week in New Mexico’s wildfire zone reported Thursday they are still dealing with smoky lobbies but also fielding a mounting number of requests for loan waivers and other forms of financial relief as mop-up concludes on the Little Bear fire.
For one, the $255 million Otero FCU of Alamogordo, whose Ruidoso branch was not directly in the fire path, said it has been concentrating on providing needed supplies and food to homeless and making donations to hard-pressed firefighter and National Guard crews.,
“Just yesterday we emptied out Walmart of all their non-melting Payday bars plus we had 200 rolls of chapstick and cartloads of water we’ve donated to the fire teams still on the line,” said Greg Shaver, vice president of marketing.
Shaver said his home in the hard-hit Alto subdivision was barely spared by the wildfires early in the week which destroyed more than 249 homes and burned more than 38,000 acres in south-central New Mexico. The fires are considered 60% contained in the mountain around Ruidoso, one of the state’s most popular ski and hiking areas.
Billy Jones, Ruidoso branch manager at the $20 million Roswell Community CU, said he was proud his credit union and others in the community have pitched in to help victims.
“During this tumultuous time, I am proud to report the Ruidoso Credit Union was able to maintain full hours of service even though credit union employee homes were themselves in danger,” he added.
“We were able to conduct needed transactions by phone for a number of our affected members, and have served to provide local updates regarding potential evacuations, fire restrictions and information. We plan in the weeks and months ahead to be a real part of the rebuilding of our