Credit union/LSCU efforts in recovery from  Hurricane Michael’s devastation

From LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine:

As LSCU Hurricane Michael recovery efforts continue, the focus is beginning to slowly shift from assessing damage/restoring power to getting credit union branches back up and running as normally as they can. Additionally, assessing and meeting the personal needs of credit union staff and volunteers is becoming a high priority. Our third team returned yesterday, and we sent another convoy out early this morning with supplies such as pre-paid phones with hot spots, tarps, fuel and oil for generators, water, and power cords.

Each morning starts with us holding an internal meeting in our Tallahassee office Hurricane Michael “War Room” to review any outstanding requests from CUs, as well as plan the day ahead. We then move to the conference call for our Southeast Disaster Coordinating Council (SDCC), which is made up of representatives from NCUA, ACUA, CO-OP Financial Services, Corporate One FCU, Corporate America CU, CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group, CU Service Centers of Alabama, the Foundation, PSCU, Shared Services for Credit Unions, and the SECUF.

Many thanks to Pen Air FCU for providing Innovations FCU with its mobile branch and to Suncoast CU, which is in the process of deploying its mobile unit to Bay CU. Additionally, America’s First FCU is working with Tyndall FCU on a mobile branch, and the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation’s mobile branch is also in the process of being deployed.

Pre-paid phones with mobile hotspots (AT&T network) have become the most sought-after items since all communication channels are significantly impaired. We have already taken over almost 40 phones, with VyStar CU sending over another 25 for delivery on Friday.

The incredible efforts and coordination of resources, supplies, and donations have exemplified the cooperative spirit that sets this movement apart. Since the storm hit, we have had teams on the ground in the affected areas on five separate occasions — Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Members of staff have been reaching out to dozens of others in the aftermath of the storm to get status updates and assess needs.

Basic needs such as diapers and wipes for babies of credit union employees are being requested now, as we have been able to travel to the credit unions in the hardest hit areas. The League is working with credit unions to try to locate temporary housing for employees who lost their homes in the storm and are assisting in coordinating resources for these folks.

We are also working with state and federal regulators on arranging a webinar to discuss what to expect from a default/delinquency standpoint as well as what examiners will be looking for in the months (and possibly years) to come.  We are also working to get some best practices shared around collections in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Thank you for your continued support. Donations to the SECUF Hurricane Michael relief effort can be made by clicking here.

The LSCU put together this storm resource guide for folks impacted by Hurricane Michael after hearing from our credit unions that it might be helpful for staff and volunteers.