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<p>WASHINGTON – Staff and members of U.S. Senate FCU located on the ground floor of the Hart Senate Building got the all clear to return to work after the Environmental Protection Agency completed a three-month, $14 million anthrax cleanup of the building. The Hart Building had been closed since October 15 after Sen. Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) office received a letter containing a very potent form of powdered anthrax. During the three months the credit union was closed for business, Marketing Director Bob Klonoski said U.S. Senate FCU conducted non-cash transactions from a table in the Senate cafeteria located in the Dirkson Senate Building. That building, along with the Russell Senate Office Building, remained open. The credit union also had a reciprocal arrangement with Wright-Patman Congressional FCU and participates in the CU Here ATM network. That allowed members to easily use nearby ATMs for cash transactions. Klonoski said he was “amazed and very pleased with how flexible” members were during the three-month period. “Normally when a branch closes, it’s a traumatic experience for members. In this situation though, everyone was so flexible,” he said. Klonoski credited much of members’ cooperation with the credit union and their ability to deal with the situation on the CU’s efforts to keep members informed. On the day the Hart Building was closed to traffic, staff of U.S. Senate FCU stood outside the Hart Building and inside the Dirkson and Russell buildings handing out communications pieces “so people would know where to go to conduct their credit union business,” said Klonoski. The credit union staff was offered free anthrax testing, and Klonoski said everyone – including himself – were tested. Fortunately, everyone’s test results came back negative. Klonoski said he’s glad the clean-up job has been completed, and the credit union branch is open for business again. He admitted, though, that the anthrax contamination will always be in the back of his mind. Still, he’s ready to get on with business. “I’m curious now to see if the members have gotten used to using the ATMs for their cash transactions, even though the branch is reopened,” he said. U.S. Senate FCU has 30,000 members and more than $204 million in assets. The credit union’s headquarters is located in Alexandria, Va. – [email protected]</p>

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