Monday, September 8, 2008

All eyes on Ike, CUs return to biz after Hanna

COLUMBIA, S.C. (9/8/08)--Credit unions near the Lower Florida Keys Sunday were preparing for the outer bands of Hurricane Ike while credit unions along the eastern seaboard from the Carolinas to New England were mopping up for business as usual today after Tropical Storm Hanna moved through Saturday.

Hurricane Ike, a Category 4 hurricane, was progressing toward eastern Cuba Sunday and its path--whether over land or over water--will determine if it loses strength and where it turns northward into the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile credit unions along the Gulf Coast are watching the hurricane. Its direction today and Tuesday will determine which states go on full alert in a region that experienced Hurricane Gustav just a week ago and is still dealing with power outages from that storm.

Credit unions along the eastern seaboard are open for business today after Tropical Storm Hanna failed to strengthen. Still, the storm buffeted some areas of North Carolina with 77 mph winds and several inches of rainfall from South Carolina to New England. Its major impact, besides flash flooding in some areas, was to delay travelers' flights.

Early reports from three credit unions at Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, S.C., near where Tropical Storm Hanna went ashore at 3:15 a.m. EDT Saturday, indicated no damage or problems from the storm, the South Carolina Credit Union League reported to News Now Saturday.

Those credit unions are Carolina Trust FCU and AVX-MB FCU, both based in Myrtle Beach, and Georgetown Kraft CU, based in Georgetown. All three reported no damage or problems and said they will open today for business as usual.

The rash of hurricanes--Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike--have prompted credit unions to review their business continuity measures.

Just Friday three credit union service organizations (CUSOs)--Financial Service Centers Cooperative Inc. (FSCC), Ongoing Operations (OGO) and Digital Dialogue, a subsidiary of PSCU Financial services--announced they are working together to assist credit unions in disaster planning.

"With Hurricanes Hanna and Ike moving in, we are very concerned that as members are being evacuated, they still have access to their credit union accounts," said FSCC President/CEO Sarah Canepa Bang.

"There is no question that keeping credit unions up and running during disasters broadens the public's trust of our institutions. Our contribution to disaster recovery allows us to tell the cooperative story to members in a deeply meaningful way."

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