Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shared branches serving members of Texas CUs

MADISON, Wis. (9/16/08)--The shared branching system is working in Texas, with members of credit unions closed by Hurricane Ike getting services through several systems.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has identified 179 credit unions, with combined assets of $12.7 billion and serving 1.7 million members, that were affected by Ike.

The hardest hit areas were:

Galveston, which has five credit unions and 14,237 members;
Beaumont, which has 10 credit unions and 81,999 members; and
Bridge City, which has one credit union and 5,436 members. More than 90% of Bridge City was flooded.

More than 80 credit unions are located in Houston. Many are without power and have been damaged by wind, NCUA said.

The NCUA is working with the Texas Credit Union League and the Texas Credit Union Department to help credit unions restore service to members, the agency said.

Members have been able to access their accounts through CO-OP Shared Branching, said Craig Beach, senior vice president of marketing business development.

"It's been very successful," he told News Now. "Members that have evacuated [Houston] have found other locations through the website and by calling us."

Credit unions also are using CURe, which is a disaster recovery solution that allows credit unions to access a second virtual private network connection in the event that their data processor has gone down.

"CURe was birthed out of [Hurricanes] Katrina and Rita," Beach said. Now that disaster recovery solutions such as CURe are in place, "things have gone so much more smoothly," he said. "Credit unions and the Texas league have worked in concert to make [accessing funds after Ike] smooth for members."

Brian McCue, director of business development, Member Service Centers, said he was on the phone with and texting credit unions all day Monday. Shared Branching has been a "big piece of their disaster recovery plan," he told News Now. Credit unions on Shared Branching are happy with how much it's working so far, he added.

He also noted the large role text messaging has played in communicating with credit unions. Two weeks ago, before Hurricane Gustav hit, he collected the cell phone numbers for many credit union CEOs and other management. "Text messages are the primary means of communication," he said.

Texas credit unions that have confirmed via website that they are open:

Amplify FCU, Austin;

Brazos Valley Schools CU, Katy--all branches open except Katy, Kingsland and Rocky Creek and Missouri City;

Chocolate Bayou Community FCU, Alvin;

Cy-Fair FCU, Houston;

DuPont Goodrich FCU, Nederland--Lumberton, Jasper offices open, phone lines down;

First Community CU of Houston, all open except Sugar Land, Champions, Sam Houston, and Echo Lane;

Fivepoint CU, Nederland;

Gulf Coast Educators FCU, Pasadena, Pearland office closed;

Houston TX Fire Fighters FCU, main office drive-thru, north branch and south branch closed;

JSC FCU, Houston--Ellington, Friendswood, Park Place, Bay Colony-Dickenson, Pearland and Monument-13th Street open;

Members Choice CU, Houston--drive-thru open only;

Mobiloil FCU, Beaumont--Delaware and Jasper branches open;

Navy Army FCU, Corpus Christi;

PrimeWay FCU, Houston--Blackhawk, Greenspoint and Med Center branches closed until further notice;

Southwest Financial FCU, Dallas;

St. Luke's Community FCU, Houston;

Star of Texas CU, Austin;

Texas Dow Employees CU, Lake Jackson--call center open;

Temple-Inland FCU, Temple--drive thru only;

Texasgulf FCU, Wharton;

Transtar FCU, Houston--290 and Williams Tower offices open;

Union Fidelity FCU, Houston--alternate location at Sheetmetal Workers Local 54; and

United SA FCU, San Antonio.

According to CUNA Mutual Group, credit union policyholders with damages can contact the CUNA Mutual Disaster phone number at 800-637-2676, which is answered 24/7.

courtesy of cuna.org

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