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LSCU's Oil Spill forum gets credit unions thinking

LSCU President/CEO explains the oil spill impact to the region

With nearly 30 credit union executives and staff participating, credit unions came together in Pensacola to discuss ways they can be a resource for those hurting along the Gulf. The LSCU’s Credit Union Response to the Gulf Oil Spill forum offered direct dialogue with regulators from the NCUA, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Alabama Credit Union Administration and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions. Tim Hornbrook, associate regional director of the NCUA, told credit unions to take each possible solution on a case-by-case basis. He instructed credit unions to find simple ways to help those hurting like waiving late and ATM fees and look at loan modifications. Linda Charity, director, Division of Financial Institutions with OFR, suggested credit unions should be open-minded about loans and to document every loan. Robert Hayes, bureau chief, Bureau of Credit Unions with OFR, reminded credit unions to look at their check cashing policies before the oil spill checks begin coming in. Glenn Latham, administrator for the Alabama Credit Union Administration, said credit unions should find ways to help those hurting by considering small loans to help them feed their family.

“I thought we had good dialogue between the regulators and credit unions. A lot of good ideas came from the forum that credit unions can consider,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine.

Pen Air FCU, Gulf Winds FCU and Navy Federal Credit Union shared best practices that each has implemented since the oil spill last April. Pen Air and Navy Federal are helping with the Florida Bridge Loan program. Small businesses need to have applications in by September 30. One thing to remember is that each application needs to have an accompanying BP claim number. Gulf Winds began a Wildlife Relief fund by committing $50,000 in matching funds. To date Gulf Winds is $11,000 shy of reaching its goal of raising $100,000 to help the wildlife affected along the Gulf at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida.

“We wanted to do something more than just giving money. The response from the community to the fund has been great. We can see first hand how the animals along the Gulf are benefitting from this program,” said Kurt Stenerson, vice president of marketing at Gulf Winds.

For more resources and to view the materials from the Credit Union Response to the Gulf Oil Spill, visit the Oil Spill Resource page.

Ken Davis, VP of Lending for Pen Air FCU talks about the Florida Bridge Loan Program. The LSCU's Bill Berg looks on

Linda Charity of OFR addresses the Oil Spill forum