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BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL), which originally established post-hurricane operations at the Baton Rouge Service Center last week, has now set up shop at Bayou Federal Credit Union here. The League has been working since Hurricane Katrina hit to contact and assist credit unions in establishing temporary locations, to re-establish lines of communication and to coordinate relief efforts with CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group and various Leagues across the country. LCUL staff has made contact with approximately 30 of the 50 credit unions with offices in the Greater New Orleans area. Credit union CEOs or senior management from Greater New Orleans area credit unions who have not gotten in touch with LCUL are asked to do so by calling the hotline, (800) 436-2682. League e-mail and Web site service, although still spotty at times, has been re-established, according to LCUL spokesperson Alicia Blanda. Staff is currently working to update the Web site (www.lcul.com) with current information. Credit unions are urged to report damages to CUNA Mutual Group by calling their Disaster Line at (800) 637-2676. The line is staffed 24/7. Teams of field staff and catastrophe adjusters are ready to respond as soon as they have been cleared to enter affected areas. Displaced credit union members are encouraged to contact one or more of the hotlines set up by LCUL, (800) 436-2682, the NCUA, (800) 827-6282, ext. 4049 (for federally chartered credit unions) and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, (888) 525-9413 (for state chartered credit unions) to find out information regarding their credit unions. Individuals with Internet access can reach NCUA at katrinaLA@ncua.gov and LOFI at www.ofi.state.la.us. Credit union members belonging to credit unions participating in the Credit Union Service Center network can access their accounts at their nearest credit union service center or outlet. To find out where the closest outlet is located, members can visit www.creditunion.net. The Louisiana League reported that two credit unions have joined the service center network since the hurricane hit to provide their members access to funds. On Labor Day, residents of Jefferson Parish were allowed to return to their homes to assess damage, according to Blanda. LCUL employees, including members of senior management, who visited their homes all reported that homes were still structurally intact, with varying amounts of wind and water damage. One home had four feet of standing water. “We had to take the back ways. Some of the bridges are not open. Some of the outlying areas are beginning to get power, and cell phone service is getting better. My husband and I went in and cleaned out the refrigerator, assessed the damage and loaded up our clothes,” Blanda said. Gas is in short supply. Blanda reported following a gas tanker truck for several miles to its destination to ensure that they were able to get gas. The League has still not received word from one League employee who is a Jefferson Parish resident. She did not evacuate when the hurricane hit and has not been heard from since Hurricane Katrina came ashore. The outpouring of support from friends and strangers has been overwhelming, according to Blanda. “I’ve done really well – no tears – but when our CEO told me we were getting checks from the Texas League, I broke down. The generosity of people who don’t even know us really floored me.” Texas Credit Union Foundation overnnighted a $7,500 emergency grant to assist more than a dozen Louisiana League employees who are displaced. -

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