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LENEXA, Kansas – Louisiana Corporate serves more credit unions affected by Katrina than any other and it wants to be prepared. “We have close to 100 members in the affected area. I’d say we’ve made contact with about 35 to 40 of them,” said Louisiana Corporate CEO Dave Savoie, speaking from U.S. Central’s headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas where the corporate is operating its back-up site. Savoie is asking credit unions from around the country to consider making deposits with the corporate. These deposits will help it meet the liquidity demand that is sure to arise from Louisiana CUs in the weeks ahead as members try to get their lives back in order. “That’s normally what happens after these situations arise. We want to be ready for that. I need liquidity and I’m not going to wait for the CLF (Central Liquidity Facility) to do it for me,” said Savoie. Savoie referenced the CLF because it is one logical source for liquidity in this time of need. However there has been some concern from Savoie and Corporate America CU CEO Thomas Bonds about the CLF extending guaranteed loans for corporates to make to credit unions. The CLF is doing that, but on a case-by-case basis. The two said that’s no different than how loans were handled prior to the disaster. The CLF could also help by infusing some cash into affected corporates, but it’s unclear what they plan to do. The two corporate leaders did say they were encouraged by recent word from the CLF, but Savoie still wants his corporate to do as much as it can on its own. Right now Louisiana corporate has plenty of liquidity. If it called on all of its outstanding lines of credit it has about $70 million available. Savoie said since Louisiana Corporate has a national FOM, all that is required for a CU to become an associate member and make a deposit is $100 to stay in a settlement account. The deposit will go into a money market account that Savoie said is paying about the same as fed funds right now. “We know credit unions have many options for depositing their overnight money, but right now investing in Louisiana Corporate would greatly assist us in quickly providing funds to credit unions in need,” he said. Savoie wants credit unions to know that their deposits will be put to good use in helping CUs help their members in this time of need. U.S. Central has been a great host, but the circumstances that led to three Louisiana Corporate employees and many of their family members – and pets – coming to U.S. Central weren’t the best. Unfortunately, many only came with limited clothing and other supplies. They are all staying at a hotel and trying to make due. “We don’t have a good estimate for how long we’ll be here. It will cost us $15,000 for food and lodging a month, many have to buy new clothes,” said Savoie. He has had to enroll his two children in Kansas City schools as have other displaced Louisiana Corporate employees. He hasn’t been able to make contact with his mother or brother back in Louisiana and is unsure where they are, and he’s not sure if his home is still standing. Three of Louisiana Corporate’s employees’ homes were destroyed by the hurricane. Fortunately, it appears the corporate network will take care of the displaced employees. A number are working on setting up a fund and making donations to cover their expenses. And this week two other corporate CEOs – Dennis DeGroodt from Missouri Corporate and Larry Eisenhauer from Kansas Corporate – will come to U.S. Central to fill in for Savoie, who has to travel on reserve duty. He is a Navy reservist pursuing Chief status. Another of the corporate’s employees, member service representative Natalie Tardo, has a husband who is an IT professional for a hospital in the St. Bernard parish. He was considered an essential employee and required to stay. He was finally able to leave after the evacuation, but not after having to commandeer a kayak to paddle out. On the way he saw dead bodies, and other horrible sights. Savoie said fortunately he was able to make it to the airport in Lake Charles where Louisiana Corporate’s chairman was able to pick him up and help him get on his way to Lenexa to meet up with his family. Meanwhile Bonds of Corporate America in Alabama, said about 15 of its members were affected by Katrina, two severely. “Right now the biggest problem were having is not with liquidity but with cash delivery.” Corporate America is offering 0% loans to affected credit unions. It also adjusted its loan limits to loan the most it can under statute. [email protected]

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