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NEW YORK – In case anyone ever doubted it, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City brought home the importance of having a disaster relief plan that is as flexible and redundant as possible. It came out this year that the $1 billion Municipal Credit Union, whose main offices were across the street from the site of the former World Trade Center, initially lost up to $15 million when over 4,000 of its 290,000 members overdrew their accounts through the credit union’s ATMs in the aftermath of the tragedy. Although at last reporting the credit union had recovered well more than half the estimated loss, in the end federal prosecutors needed to be called in to address the losses in the 101 most egregious and recalcitrant account holders. Despite the losses and the bad press of credit union members being sought by the police, the credit union, many of whose members were involved directly in the tragedy, forthrightly stood behind the decisions that let the members have access to their accounts. “In the context of the time we definitely have no regrets,” said Thomas Siciliano, general counsel to the institution. “A large percentage of our members are policemen and firemen and in the wake of 9-11 some of these people were lost, some were missing, their families didn’t know where they were. When it was confirmed that we had lost our NYCE [New York Cash Exchange] connection we opted to serve our members, even though we knew that a percentage of them would take advantage.”

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