Hundreds Of CUs Swallowed By Darkness: Hurricane Sandy
Of the 2,000 credit unions located in the path of Hurricane Sandy, 838 were unable to operate, in varying degrees, during the difficult days following the super storm, according to the NCUA. And it took nearly a full week before most of those credit unions were be back in business to serve their members.
“The impact on credit unions is widespread, but [it was] not as dramatic as it could have been,” said Mike Retelle, claims manager at CUNA Mutual Group.
Credit union league offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania remained closed on Tuesday, but employees were working from their homes trying to call credit unions and monitoring social media and television newscasts to see how the storm was affecting credit unions.
Struggling to Recover
By Wednesday afternoon–just 30 hours after Hurricane Sandy–credit unions were starting to restore some services.
Long Island Woes
On New York’s Long Island, about 90% of utility customers, homeowners and businesses, lost power after the storm. The state’s largest credit union, the $4.8 billion Bethpage Federal Credit Union on Long Island, said 21 of its 25 branches throughout Long Island re-opened on Nov. 1 after power was restored. New Jersey’s largest credit union, Affinity FCU, also opened six of its 15 branches. Still, problems persisted.
Small Credit Unions
While some big credit unions like MCU, Affinity and Bethpage struggled to restore services to members, small credit unions seemed to be in a better position to keep serving their members.
To support the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Sandy, credit unions, state leagues and associations and the National Credit Union Foundation have raised, as of last Thursday, more than $130,000 since the disaster relief system, CUAID.coop, was activated last week.