Last week, after the country watched in horror as a deadly tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., many were shocked again at the lack of storm shelters in the heart of Tornado Alley.
But these are tough economic times and residential storm shelters typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000. They can cost more than $10,000 if they have mechanized doors or other upgrades.
Because of the high cost of lives and property, many Oklahoma credit unions are currently offering low APR loans on storm shelters.
“Focus FCU has been offering tornado shelter loans for about two months,” said Chandra Goodson, director of marketing and business development at Focus FCU. “We decided to offer these types of loans after getting inquiries from members and feedback from our staff last year. The rate is a fixed rate loan at 2.75% APR. Our lending staff looks at the members’ overall credit picture, as these loans are not score based.”
Due to the number of tornados and the huge number of people impacted this week, Focus, a $548 million credit union located in Oklahoma City, quickly moved to offer victims several tornado relief options and emailed information to members as well as partner groups such as storm shelter installers.
“Prior to the May 19 and 20th tornados, we had funded 30 storm shelter loans,” Goodson said. “Since then we have been inundated with phone calls and loan applications from Oklahomans wanting to protect their families”
The $877 million Communication FCU in Oklahoma City is offering storm shelter loans at a 0.99% APR. The storm shelter rate is fixed and will never change over the term of the loan. Since Communication FCU’s program's original inception two years ago, more than 600 storm shelters have been installed, that credit union said.
Other credit unions offering loans for storm shelters are the $491 million Oklahoma Central in Tulsa, the $3 billion Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma City and the $106 million Oklahoma Educators Credit Union, also located in Oklahoma City and all are offering 2.99% APR.
“Anytime you can take out a loan for a storm shelter you need to do it,” said state Rep. Joe Dorman, a Democrat from rural Rush Springs, about 60 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. "People need to be able to afford to protect themselves, especially in the vulnerable areas where there have been tornado outbreaks."
FAA Credit Union also offers storm shelter loans for members. They are 2.95% for up to 36 months and for up to $5,000. They are currently evaluating this rate and are looking at offering a 1% rate for 12 months in addition to 90 days no payments.
“We feel like this program is important because our job as a credit union is to take care of our member’s needs,” said Alison Wolf, vice president of marketing at FAA CU
“Human life is priceless and we don't want cost to be a consideration when it comes to safety.”
Also from Oklahoma Tornado:
- 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)
- Leagues Chip In, Life-Saving Vault Still Inaccessible
- 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