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PASACAGOULA, Miss. – Navigator Credit Union lost three branches and all its telecommunications to Hurricane Katrina but now is providing telephone and online banking service to its 32,000 members through help from Gulf Data Systems, the Mobile-based company says. The $197 million CU (www.navigatorcu.org) is using a call center provided by GDS and the company’s OnCUe online banking system to restore services to members after the credit union first implemented its disaster recovery plan at a backup site in Georgia but then found itself with no phone lines for members to use to call. “The old lines were gone, and new lines were going to take a long time to get installed,” says Jeanne Croom, IS director for GDS (www.gulfdata.org). So the company used an underground fiber-optic connection to the Internet to dedicate six lines to Navigator CU and set up a call center at GDS offices, and then configured PCs to connect to the credit union’s servers. GDS also provided members with 24-hour access using the OnCUe home banking system, which handled more than 2,100 log-ons in the first 48 hours. GDS is working to help restore credit union services through CUNA’s RESCU initiative, the company says. GDS says it will help credit unions run on whatever system they currently use, free of charge and with no contracts required, until they are again operational. Services include providing telecommunication and helping to rebuild databases. “Most will have their records, whether they are on paper, tape, disk or CDROM. We can make those records available to them again in whatever capacity they need,” says company CEO Leo Vaulin says. “But if all they’ve come away with is a trial balance, we can work with that.” For help, GDS invites credit unions to call at 1-800-293-7554, ext 229.

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