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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Credit unions in four Midwest states are considering themselves very lucky after coming through relatively unscathed from a series of devastating tornadoes that touched down in various cities May 4-6. Newspaper and broadcast media reported stories of widespread destruction – as of May 7, the death toll in Missouri had reached 18; 15 people died in Tennessee; seven deaths were reported in Kansas; and at least 11 people were killed in just one county in Tennessee. At press time, damage assessment reports were still coming in to credit union leagues from CUs in their state Tennessee Credit Union League VP/CFO Geraldine Cardwell said reports brought back to the league from its field consultants showed most of the credit unions in the effected areas suffered loss of water and electrical power. The worst hit credit union in the state was P&G Jackson Employees FCU. The $7-million credit union is housed on the first floor of the Proctor & Gamble plant. Karen Jordan, manager of P&G Jackson EFCU said the building lost 80% of its roof, and the credit union suffered major water damage including losing its computer system. Fortunately, nearby Resource FCU is on the same processor – CGI – and that credit union, with the assistance of their CGI representative, helped Resource FCU set up a satellite office for P&G Jackson EFCU in extra office space it had in its facility. Jordan was expecting the delivery on May 9 of three new computers. She said P&G Jackson EFCU would probably operate out of the Resource FCU satellite office for about a month. Meanwhile, the credit union set up an 800-number the CU’s three employees and members can use to get in touch with P&G EFCU. In Kansas, the league contacted credit unions in the cities of Leavenworth, Bonner Springs, Kansas City, and Pittsburg. League spokesperson Jamie Varbel said news was starting to trickle in, but early reports showed no credit unions in the four cities sustained any damages. She noted though that Health Care CU in Kansas City, as well as other credit unions in the city, reported they were all right, but may have members that suffered losses. Next door in Missouri, Mica Delong of the Missouri Credit Union Association said they hadn’t heard of any credit union that was “directly affected,” Most of the tornadoes were in the southwest region of the state in Pierce City, Stockton, and Carl Junction, but the city of Joplin wasn’t as fortunate. Delong said the president of Joplin Metro CU told that members who had home equity loans with the credit union, had lost their home to the tornadoes. In addition, Central Ozarks CU in Joplin reported it was already cashing handwritten checks members had received from their insurance company to help get them started on recouping their losses. “Tornadoes are pretty typical this time of year,” said P&G Jackson EFCU’s Jordan, “but never 83 tornadoes at one time.” Meanwhile, on May 7 the National Weather Service issued more tornado warnings in many of the areas that were trying to recover from the earlier wave of tornadoes and rainstorms. -

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