NEW YORK—Millions of people and the credit unions that serve them in the Northeastern U.S. remain without power today. Some state league offices remain closed, and are reporting difficulty in contacting some credit unions in their respective states. Others are just beginning to restart their operations. Here’s an update on the latest news.
Assistant Manager And Former Cop Makes Way To ACPFCU
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Wayne Schromsky made his way through 10 miles of sand-and-debris-covered streets today to do the books at Atlantic City Police FCU.
Schromsky, a retired Atlantic City Police Department detective, guessed that he was likely the only CU staffer on the job in this city that has been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, which brought floodwaters over blocks of homes and destroyed large sections of Atlantic City's world-famous boardwalk.
“The entire city is closed; no one is allowed in unless you are emergency personnel,” the CU assistant manager told Credit Union Journal. “I still have my police credentials so I got through the barricades. But it wasn’t easy. I had to find the right route. I told the credit union team that I was coming in today to do the month-end closing and they wished me luck.”
The $2-million ACPFCU was not damaged by the storm due largely to its location on the third floor of the Atlantic City Public Safety building. Schromsky is a life-long area resident and said that while Sandy was a terrible storm to ride out, he had gone through the 1962 storm that brought floodwaters up over Atlantic Avenue.
“That storm was worse,” said Schromsky. “Don’t get me wrong, this one was almost as bad. There are bulldozers everywhere today working away the debris.”
Schromsky said the credit union is expected to open on Friday, and he has heard that the city might reopen sometime tomorrow.
“We are a resilient group here in Atlantic City. I saw that back in ’62, we got back on our feet in about two weeks. The sun is starting to come out now, it’s a new day, and we’ll come back again.”
Schromsky had not received reports from other credit unions in the area.
The New Jersey CU League has indicated that numerous credit unions are without power and that many CUs, long with the league, remain closed.
NCUF Activates CUAid.coop
MADISON, Wis.--The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has activated its online disaster relief system, CUAid.coop to raise money for CU people affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Donations can be made at the website to assist employees, volunteers and members who have suffered losses as a result of the storm.
“Everyone who supports CUAid is helping affected credit union people directly with critical needs, longer-term recovery needs, operational needs, and assisting credit union members,” said NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian.
As donations are posted through CUAid.coop, NCUF said it will coordinate with the credit union leagues in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and members.
Municipal CU Looking To Open Offices
NEW YORK--Municipal Credit Union, with its main office located near the World Trade Center site in New York City, has issued a statement saying, “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, like the members we serve, MCU is working hard to restore service. We hope to have some of our branches open later today. Members can call 888-22-0320 for an updated status on branches open. Members can also access their funds through the NYCE network. We hope you and your family are safe.”
CUNA, NAFCU Re-open Offices
WASHINGTON—CUNA and NAFCU have re-opened their offices after being closed for two days. Employees of both trade groups had been working remotely from home during the closures. But weather-related issues remain a threat. The National Weather Service predicting the Potomac River is likely experience its worst flooding in 16 years. Flooding is expected to last through the end of the week.
Emergency Assistance Offered
WOODBRIDGE, Va.—Members of Belvoir FCU here are being offered emergency assistance. The credit union has extended a waiver and/or credit of fees for any late loan payment fee for consumer and home equity loans as well as overdraft fees.
Still A State of Emergency
ALBANY, N.Y.--The offices at the Credit Union Association of New York are back up and running today, and Public Relations Coordinator Bonnie Sklar said that calls from credit unions are beginning to trickle in, New York City the league’s member services team is calling all CUs throughout the NYC metro area, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties to assess the level of impact and determine the level of resources that are needed.
“Given that there’s still a state of emergency in those areas, I think it’s going to be a few days before we have near a complete assessment,” said Sklar. “Not surprisingly, given the New York community of credit unions, we’re already starting to hear from those that were not impacted asking how they can help. I know that SEFCU (in Albany) has a mobile branch that they’ve offered. But again, given that there’s no electricity in so many of the places, we are having trouble getting through.”
Sklar also confirmed for Credit Union Journal that there were no credit unions in the area of Queens that suffered a fire that burned down more than 50 homes on Monday night.
“We’re not hearing of any damage at this point,” she said. “Again, probably because they’re having trouble getting through. ...The ones that have gotten through to us, they’re probably the ones that aren’t as severely impacted.”
As of Wednesday morning, CUANY had not received any reports of damage beyond power outages, and Sklar offered the following updates:
*Entertainment Industries FCU in Manhattan has reported that it did not sustain damage but is closed due to lack of power.
*Melrose CU is open and never lost power throughout; however its main phone number was not working as of Wednesday morning.
*Nassau Educators FCU has some branches closed and North Shore LIJ FCU is closed due power outages.
Mostly Good News in Pennsylvania
HARRISBURG, Penn.--Credit unions in the Keystone State appear to have escaped Hurricane Sandy without sustaining any significant damage, said Michael Wishnow, SVP of marketing and communications for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.
While many parts of the state are dealing with downed trees and continued power outages, there are not yet any reports of significant damage, he said, and PCUA has not yet heard of any damage to credit unions. “I think power is the big issue, not necessarily damage,” he said. But PCUA is not quite ready to breathe easy, as Wishnow said there is still a window during which CUs might report damage. “I think within the next day or two we’ll know if there was any damage,” he said. “I think flooding was minimal; it was all wind damage—downed trees, downed power lines and folks without power.”