In a news brief in the April 6 issue regarding Municipal Credit Union opening its 100th ATM, it stated that after the Sept. 11 attacks members “stole” $15 million from the CU’s ATMs. I just want to set the record straight. During the destruction of the attack, MCU lost communication because lower Manhattan’s phone cables were cut by the falling buildings. MCU’s “hot site” was in Pennsylvania, but it was the “hot site” for New York City, so MCU had to find an alternative. MCU’s software vendor, AFTECH, loaned MCU their computer facilities, but MCU had lost control of its ATM process. NYCE was told to go to “standby”, and give $200 per day to MCU members; this was later changed to $500 per day, and it went on for over a month. As time went on, MCU knew that some members were taking more money than they had in their accounts; at the same time members who had money invested with MCU had an absolute right to the funds they were withdrawing. When control was achieved MCU found that about $15 million more than deposits had been taken. During the time after the attack, many people were confused and upset. MCU notified members who had taken too much money that they had three choices to return the funds: 1.) Return the entire amount, immediately, 2.) Come into a branch and arrange payments, or 3.) Don’t pay and go to jail. Choices 1 and 2 were the most popular and funds started flowing in quickly. The members who chose No. 3 have been arrested and brought to the court, where they appeared before judges who on occasion have encouraged these members to pay MCU and arrange restitution, and avoid prosecution. Payments are still being made and less than $2 million is outstanding. A few members took advantage of this terrible situation, and will or have paid for it. Whether they were just weak or bad people is not for me to judge, that will happen in the afterlife. But as these members abused their membership privilege, many more were helped by MCU when they withdrew over $140 million they had invested with their credit union. At the October 2001 MCU monthly board meeting, management informed the board that of the over 340 firefighters and fire officers who perished 129 were MCU members and of the 30 police officers, 10 were MCU members. Some of these brave members had loans and a few didn’t have life insurance on their loan. The board asked a few questions and then the board unanimously voted to forgive the loans. What else could we do? Credit unions are designed to help people, we fulfilled our mission. C. Richard Wagner Director Municipal Credit Union New York City

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