Gary Jones, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma, said Wednesday that the association’s foundation has been mobilized to begin distributing cash to tornado victims in the wake of Monday’s twister that blasted Moore, Okla.
The Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation controls the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund. Jones delivered two checks to a credit union CEO Wednesday morning that will help employees affected by the tornado.
Giving the money to credit union CEOs is the most efficient way to ensure the money gets into the hands of tornado victims, some of whom no longer have a house, the league president said.
“We recognize cash is something storm victims really do need for basic necessities,” Jones said
Also from Oklahoma Tornado:
- Loans to Offer Shelter From the Storms
- Ohio, Kansas, California Joins in Relief Effort
- Pen Air FCU Starts Relief Collections
- Redstone Collecting Donations in Alabama
- Manager Tells Tale of Tinker Safe Survival (video)
- CUNA Mutual Contacts 57 CUs
- Branch’s Vault Still Stands Sentinel
- NCUA Activates Relief Policy
- Weokie Staff Also Retreated to Vault
- CUNA Mutual Sending Disaster Team
- League, NCUF Assessing Impact
- Tinker Staffers Survive in Safe
At least four credit union employees from Tinker Federal Credit Union, which lost a branch in Moore, and an additional 26 employees reported some damage to their homes.
Jones said there are other employees and volunteers who live in Moore who were affected by the tornado but work for other credit unions throughout the Oklahoma City metro area.
“We are ready to respond to any request,” said Jones. “I have been receiving communications from our colleague around the county. As an example, the Houston chapter of the Texas Credit Union League (soon to join Oklahoma and Arkansas in the new Cornerstone Credit Union League) is holding a fundraiser to help victims.
“Other colleagues and friends from around the state and country are asking how they should go about helping us. It’s humbling to receive all of the kind words of comfort and offers of support from people around the country.”
The Kansas Credit Union League also has donated to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation.
“Our thoughts are with those credit unions and everyone affected by Monday’s tornado,” said Susan Dyer, communications director of KCUL.
The Moore branch of the $3 billion Tinker FCU was obliterated. Employees and members who were at the branch when the tornado struck escaped harm by taking shelter in the vault. The tornado completely destroyed the 6,387-square-foot branch, as well as the cars in the parking lot. When the tornado past, the vault was still intact, and employee and members got out of the vault with assistance from first responders.
On Tuesday, TFCU employees were allowed to access the branch site to collect the cash from the teller stations and the ATM.
“All of the cash has been accounted for and was transferred elsewhere,” Matt Stratton, vice president of marketing for the $3 billion TFCU, said Wednesday.
“Our next step is to figure out how to get the safe deposit boxes where they can be accessed by the members. I don’t anticipate that will happen today. Normally, we don’t get a lot of people who regularly access safe deposit boxes, but in this situation people may want to make sure their documents are safe and some members may need to get their insurance papers,” he said.
Brent Taylor, president/CEO of the $892 million Weokie Credit Union, said the Weokie CU branch in Moore is being cleaned up by work crews, and it will be re-opened once the power is restored. The Oklahoma Educators Credit Union Moore branch also remains closed due to lack of power, according to a statement on the credit union’s site.
Meanwhile, the NCUF said it would not be activating its CUAid service in this case.
“Since the National Credit Union Foundation runs CUAid, the online disaster relief fundraising mechanism for credit unions, we’ve been in touch with the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma since Monday. The league has decided not to activate CUAid at this time given the number of credit union people affected,” the NCUF said Wednesday in a statement.