Battening down in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac, New Orleans credit unions were preparing Monday to close early to give employees time to prepare for the coming storm.
The storm was expected to make landfall as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, following much the same path as Hurricane Katrina, which hammered New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama seven years earlier to the day on Aug. 29, 2005.
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While Isaac is not expected to be as nearly as powerful a storm, “our credit unions are taking the usual precautionary disaster steps with many planning to be closed tomorrow,” Connie Major, executive vice president of the Louisiana Credit Union League, said Monday. The league officers were closed Monday as staffers prepared.
Credit unions in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi also were reacting to the tropical storm.
“Some of our credit unions on the Gulf Coast are preparing to give out extra cash today and closing at noon today, and will be closed tomorrow,” said Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi Credit Union League.
Meanwhile, the $5.2 billion Tampa-based Suncoast Schools FCU kept all its 51 branches closed until noon Monday as the storm brushed by on its way west, also pushing the GOP national convention back a day.
But the $1.2 billion Pen Air FCU in Pensacola on the Florida panhandle is more in the expected path of the storm and said it was closing all its branches at noon on Tuesday with plans to re-open on Thursday.
“This is provided there is no damage caused by the storm,” Pen Air said in a statement, adding that ATMs at two of its branches are operated by generator and will remain accessible in event of a power outage.
And in Alabama, Steve Swofford, president/CEO of the $517 million Alabama FCU in Tuscaloosa, said Monday, “We do expect to follow the governor’s order and close by 4 p.m. this afternoon two of our branches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. But it looks like now the storm will hit west of us.”
The NCUA said Friday it was ready to activate its emergency plans if necessary.