Elevations Credit Union President/CEO Gerry Agnes spotted partially blue skies the morning of Sept. 16, a welcomed sight after Boulder, Colo., and surrounding communities were devastated by epic flooding.
Seven consecutive days of rain turned rivers into raging torrents, damaging or destroying thousands of homes, ruining dozens of roads and bridges, and claiming the lives of eight people.
Fortunately, the $1.3 billion Elevations, the $445 million Premier Members Federal Credit Union and the $300 million Boulder Valley Credit Union reported no damage to their collective 26 branches that serve more than 162,000 members throughout the Boulder area.
However, some Elevations employees weren’t as lucky.
“Where the pain and heartache is at is really with our staff and members,” Agnes said. “One of our branch managers said his home is under seven to eight feet of water and we are hearing more of that.”
Elevations helped employees find temporary housing and is assessing how the flood affected more than 100,000 of its members. Agnes said she suspects some of them were hit hard. Local and national media reported the flood destroyed approximately 1,500 homes and damaged 17,500 more.
The credit union said it will work with members that have loans due or are having other financial difficulties from the flood’s aftermath. New lines of credit also will be offered to members.
Elevations also launched a fundraising initiative to raise $200,000 in emergency funds to help flood victims. If $100,000 in donations are raised, Elevations will match it, Agnes said.
According to Boulder Valley CU President/CEO Rick Allen, one employee at the $300 million credit union had basement damage, a second suffered apartment damage and a third couldn’t access his home because it was located in an evacuation zone.
“Our employees were pretty lucky,” he said.
On Sept. 12, the credit union closed all five of its branches but reopened three of them the following day. All were operating by Sept. 16.
Premier Members President/CEO Carlos Pacheco said about 10 of his employees were evacuated, but none of their homes were destroyed. However, he said two employees were waiting to hear when they could return to homes that had been evacuated. And because of damaged roads, one employee had to take an alternate route to work that extended his commute from 20 minutes to two hours.
The credit union was forced to closed six of its 11 branches on Sept 12, but three were reopened the following morning. All were up and running on Sept. 16.
Pacheco said he considers his credit union to be lucky, particularly because one of its Boulder branches was just 15 to 20 blocks away from where a nearby river caused massive flooding.
All three credit unions said they will work with members by waiving fees on skip-a-payment on loans, late fee waivers and low-interest loans or lines of credit.