ONTARIO, Calif. – CO-OP Network, the largest ATM and EFT Network owned by financial institutions, is swinging into action in an attempt to help credit unions across the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. The ATM cooperative started off by donating $50,000 to the National Credit Union Foundation’s hurricane relief efforts, according to Jim Hanisch, executive vice president with the Network, but it didn’t stop there. The cooperative is also working with Southwest Corporate to waive the fees that it charges on EFT transactions it processes for about 30 credit unions and is working with the CU Roundtable and CUNA to form a buyers group to help damaged credit unions replace their destroyed ATMs. According to news reports, ATMs in the hurricane damaged area which were not swept away by the storm surge or flooded out were carried away and destroyed by looters. “People across the world have been shocked by the horrific images of destruction and human suffering along the Gulf Coast and are seeking ways to assist,” says CO-OP Network CEO Stan Hollen. “There are thousands, probably millions of people in the devastated areas who desperately need our support today, and I’m proud to see credit union organizations across our country stepping forward to assist.” CO-OP Network will waive the fees on EFT transactions initially for 90 days and then reassess the situation, Hanisch explained. He also said that the Network was continuing to authorize transactions for the affected credit unions, almost all of which have members that have been flung far and wide by the storm and its aftermath. “We want to make sure the members have access to their money even though there is a risk some of this might be abused,” Hanisch added.

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