Wednesday, April 1, 2009

N.D. CU moves to escape flood, NCUA activates help

FARGO, N.D. (3/31/09)--Fargo (N.D.) VA FCU will move into another Fargo credit union on Wednesday to escape flood waters from the Red River.

Fargo VA will move into Freedom Community CU for three days--Wednesday, Thursday and Friday--Jana Thune, Fargo VA CEO, told News Now.

On Thursday night and early Friday morning, the credit union moved some of it records from the basement of the VA Hospital where it is located, up to the second floor to avoid any potential flood waters, she said.

The credit union was closed Friday, Monday and today to comply with the city's request that all non-essential businesses be closed for three days.

"We will likely open Wednesday and be there through Friday," Thune said. "We're open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, a full day on Friday--which is a big VA processing day. We'll just sign on and work out of Freedom Community's facility. It uses the same data processing facility that we use."

Although no flood waters have affected the VA Hospital--which sits right next to the Red River--as of Monday afternoon, the potential threat of flooding caused the credit union to relocate its operations, Thune said.

None of the other 15 Fargo credit unions had plans to relocate as of Friday, according to Tony Richards, CEO of Mid-America Credit Union Association. Many places in the state, including the association, were closed Monday due to a heavy snowstorm.

After reaching a historic high level of 40.82 feet over the weekend, the river dropped below 40 feet Sunday and could drop to 38 feet by the end of the week, meteorologists said (USA Today March 30).

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has activated its disaster relief policy to assist credit unions and their members affected by the severe weather and flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota.

President Barack Obama has declared an emergency exists in the two states and has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts.

Under its disaster assistance policy, NCUA will, where necessary:

Encourage credit unions to make loans with special terms and reduced documentation to affected members;

Reschedule routine examinations of affected credit unions if necessary;

Guarantee lines of credit for credit unions through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund; and

Make loans to meet the liquidity needs of member credit unions through the Central Liquidity Facility.

NCUA works with individual state league organizations and state regulators to ensure all federally insured credit unions are aware of NCUA's available assistance. NCUA Region IV examiners are in close contact with affected credit unions to offer advice and assistance. During disaster conditions, NCUA personnel operate under three priorities:

Determine the safety of credit union staff and operational condition of credit unions;

Provide needed material and technical assistance to affected credit unions; and

Return credit unions to normal operations as quickly as possible.

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