Super Storm Sandy Put Credit Unions to the Test
By 8 p.m. Oct. 29, the center of Sandy had blasted into the southern coast of New Jersey. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 175 miles from the center of the storm spreading out 485 miles to far as the Great Lakes region.
When Sandy hit the New York tri-state area, it left millions of homeowners and businesses in the dark for days. Some suffered in darkness for weeks.
To understand what the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy can do to a credit union, look no further than the $1.8 billion Municipal Credit Union, based in New York City. Dozens of frustrated and furious members sharply criticized the credit union for what they say were serious lapses and missteps in its disaster recovery efforts.
For nearly a week, members received little or no specific information from MCU about why their direct deposits had not been posted to pay bills and to get cash they needed to buy necessities. As this issue festered in the days after the storm passed, members grew frustrated, anxious and angry because of no phone services, inoperable ATMs and problems with online banking. The direct deposit issue affected more than 14,000 members. By Nov. 6, after MCU’s main office in lower Manhattan had its power restored, the beleaguered credit union said it completed postings of all direct deposits and ACH payments scheduled for the previous week. MCU said it also had resolved its ATM, online and call center issues.