TAMPA, Fla. -Hurricane Katrina had quite an impact for GTE Federal Credit Union. The storm had personal implications for some 27 GTE FCU staffers in New Orleans and approximately 16,000 credit union members in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Since the storm, 10 of GTE FCU's New Orleans employees have temporarily or permanently relocated to GTE FCU's world headquarters in Tampa. In addition, some will return to work at the St. Charles Parish branch in Boutte, which is southwest of New Orleans and did not sustain flood damage. New Orleans employees will also staff the Mid-City New Orleans branch, which GTE FCU is working to reopen as quickly as possible. All four New Orleans branches were acquired by GTE FCU last fall in a merger with New Orleans Municipal Employees Credit Union. To help provide relief the credit union initiated 90-day grace periods on loan payments, including credit cards, mortgages and MAC (payday) loans; suspended GTE FCU ATM fees and shared branching fees; and waived checking and relationship pricing fees for affected members. A short-term loan program created for members in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will continue into early November. To date, 87 short-term loans have been provided to members for a total of $70,600. In addition, nearly 27,500 transactions have been conducted by members in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama via the shared branching network, interactive voice response system, online account access and ATMs GTE FCU staffers have also been busy collecting clothing and organizing fundraisers to help the hurricane's survivors. So far employee generosity has included raising over $9,000 in a jeans day fundraiser and through cash donations; 130 employees contributing 1,572 hours of their vacation time for their co-workers in Louisiana; raising a total of $238,000 for the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund through donations and a GTE FCU Charitable Foundation match program. In addition employees completed shared branching training at three GTE FCU branches in North Florida to be able to serve Hurricane Katrina victims in the region GTE FCU's processing partner, PSCU Financial Services, and Members Gateway, a research and development partnership of 24 credit unions including GTE FCU, each contributed $25,000 to aid GTE FCU's New Orleans employees

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