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WASHINGTON – As might be expected considering Katrina’s aftermath, the calls and e-mails pouring in to CUNA headquarters last week from the public, CU managers, their members, state Leagues and the media – all providing or seeking help or information – have proved unprecedented. “I have more than 200 e-mails that I haven’t even opened yet from staffers at state leagues, from CEOs or credit union members asking about the status of individual CUs, the whereabouts of employees or simply wanting to give cash, help out and asking how to do it,” said a weary Jeff Carpenter, vice president of League relations. Carpenter and the other five members in the American Association of Credit Union Leagues who also do double duty for CUNA said he has been on the phone constantly fielding requests which range from serious ones like a Gulf Coast CU still searching for missing employees to assuring a New Orleans member that though his CU branch is gone his money is safe “and not to panic.” “I did receive a call on Friday from a credit union with 300 employees that has only heard about the whereabouts of 75,” said Carpenter who declined to give out the CU’s name. Early in the week Carpenter said he fielded an urgent call from Charles Elliott, president/CEO of the Mississippi League, seeking gasoline “to get past FEMA checkpoints and on that I had contacted Mary Dunn to help out.” Dunn is CUNA’s senior vice president & associate general counsel for regulatory affairs. Elliott also needed CUNA’s assistance in reaching Southeast Corporate to get cash and supplies into member CUs “and so we made the contacts.” One vexing problem has been a breakdown of the 504 area code in reaching the Louisiana League and victim CUs in that state, so CUNA “is working on a plan to adopt the 608 area code” which is for Madison, the headquarters for CUNA. CUNA and AACUL staffers, said Carpenter, have tried to help employees of the Louisiana League who have lost or damaged homes. The Slidell home of Anne Cochran, the League’s president, was reportedly slightly damaged and Cheryl Oggs, executive vice president, reportedly lost her Metairie home. “We’ve been working to find housing for League employees that need them,” said Carpenter. “Many of the calls have simply been from CEOs and managers offering to provide equipment or employees to any CU that needs them,” said Carpenter. AACUL has also been working with the Florida League on expanding its “Adopt a Credit Union” program announced last week nationwide. Many of the calls coming in to CUNA and to NAFCU have been compliance concerns. “We’re simply swimming in information,” declared Pat Keefe, vice president of communications for CUNA. A spokesman for NAFCU said many of the requests and offers deal with ATM equipment and other physical needs “and on these we are routing them to the two NCUA regional offices which straddle the Gulf Coast.” [email protected]

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