OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Credit Union League is making certain tornado victims get the financial help they need until the insurance checks arrive. The League said it has set up a $1,000 relief fund through its Foundation to assist CU members who may be in need of shelter or assistance as result of the series of devastating tornadoes that raked metropolitan Oklahoma City May 8-9. At the same time, Southwest Corporate Credit Union said it was contributing $5,000 to the relief fund with the state League also broadening its assistance appeal nationwide to other league foundations and the CUNA-based National Credit Union Foundation. In response to the appeal, the Washington (State) Credit Union Foundation said it would be contributing $1,000 to the Oklahoma disaster relief effort. The emergency cash would go for vital needs, said the Oklahoma League. In helping victims, the League seeks "to help in any way we can with temporary housing and food until the insurance companies are able to do their job," declared Jim Williams, president/CEO of Oklahoma Health Services Federal CU and chairman of the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation. OCUF said it also contributed $2,000 to the Oklahoma Red Cross to assist those hardest hit by the storms Many CU members or their families lost homes or vehicles in the two days of storms which hit Oklahoma City and suburban areas. Tinker Federal CU, for one, said 25 of its employees or family members were directly affected. "We are in the process of working up a complete list of those employees or their families who sustained vehicle or home damage and fortunately there were no major injuries," said Matt Stratton, senior vice president. The 400-employee Tinker is the state's largest CU at $1.1 billion and its main office and 14 branches sustained no damage. Ironically, Tinker suffered the worst among Oklahoma CUs in a 1999 tornado. The May 8-9 twister did, however, hit hard Tinker's largest SEG, a large General Motors plant in Midwest City which was severely damaged. The plant, which employs 3,500, had recently undergone a major retooling. Tinker said it would be helping in the effort to get the GM plant get back into service. -

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