Even as still more National Guard troops were deployed to the Houston area, credit unions' disaster recovery teams were also swinging into action as Hurricane Harvey continued to pummel the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Though downgraded to a tropical storm, the cyclone is causing extensive flooding due to its slow and meandering course, forcing credit unions in the southeastern region of Texas to shut down along with countless schools, businesses and more.
On Friday, the Cornerstone Credit Union League, Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, and CUNA Mutual Group activated their “Customer Disaster Response Teams” in anticipation of Harvey's impact. And though the storm has weakened significantly from its peak as a catastrophic Category Four hurricane, it continues to wreak havoc.
The National Weather Service warned that “life-threatening conditions continue” in the Texas Gulf coast region, with some areas likely to suffer record-shattering flooding.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, has ordered the deployment of an additional 1,000 National Guard troops into the Houston area to help with recovery operations, raising the total number to about 4,000.
Cornerstone said that all credit unions in the areas affected by the hurricane are being assessed and monitored by Cornerstone's Disaster Response Team in order to be as responsive as possible in providing assistance wherever needed.
"Credit unions are known for their community outreach, and this storm has brought out the best in us," said Cornerstone president and CEO Caroline Willard. "We are seeing a generous outpouring of support from credit unions across the region and around the country, and we are updating our list of available resources all the time."
The National Credit Union Foundation has also activated its online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people in Texas affected by Tropical Storm Harvey. Credit union supporters in every state can make donations at cuaid.coop.
“With the devastating flooding caused by Harvey, our credit union brothers and sisters need help,” said Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland. “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.”
In addition, Cornerstone noted that the “biggest threat” from Harvey was not strong winds, but the heavy rain. “Most of those in Harvey's path and at risk from flooding are in the Houston area and the Coastal Bend, a region which also includes Corpus Christi,” the league stated. “When rainfall is measured in feet rather than inches, the resulting flooding can present a potentially life-threatening situation.”
Cornerstone pointed out that this is exactly why shared branching is so important. “In such emergency situations, you need to get information to your members in a hurry,” the league advised credit unions. “Shared branching is the second largest network in the country, by virtue of the high number of branch office locations available to credit union members nationally.”
Among the credit unions with closed branches in the beleaguered area include:
AMOCO FCU ($847 million assets; based in Texas City, Texas); Baylor College of Medicine FCU ($40 million; Houston); Beacon FCU ($153 million; La Porte, Texas); Brazos Valley Schools CU ($700 million; Katy, Texas); Coastal Teachers FCU ($5 million; Port Lavaca, Texas); Community Resource CU ($449 million; Baytown, Texas; call center will be open); CTECU (Bellaire, Texas); Cy-Fair FCU ($236 million; Houston); Empowerment Community Development FCU ($1.5 million; Houston); Energy Capital CU ($227 million; Houston); First Community CU ($1.3 billion; Houston); First Service CU ($680 million; Houston); Harris County FCU ($157 million; Houston); Houston FCU ($689 million; Sugar Land, Texas); Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU ($263 million; Houston); Houston Highway CU ($57 million; Houston); Houston Metropolitan FCU ($52 million; Houston); Houston Police CU ($683 million; Houston); InvesTex CU ($187 million; Humble, Texas); Members Choice CU ($565 million; Houston); MemberSource CU ($204 million; Houston); Members Trust of the Southwest FCU ($124 million; Houston); Memorial CU ($74 million; Houston); Oak Farms Employees CU ($4 million; Houston); People’s Trust FCU ($513 million; Houston); P.I.E. CU ($14 million; Houston); Plus4 CU ($119 million; Houston); Port of Houston CU ($6.7 million; Houston); Primeway FCU ($472 million; Houston); Resource One CU ($478 million; Dallas; Houston-area locations closed); SPCO CU ($40 million; Houston); Smart Financial CU ($669 million; Houston); Southern FCU ($92 million; Houston); Southern Star CU ($22 million; Houston); Space City CU ($78 million; Houston); Team Financial FCU ($6.5 million; Houston); Texas Bay CU ($420 million; Houston); Transtar FCU ($32 million; Houston); and Union Fidelity FCU ($21 million; Houston).