MOSS POINT, Miss.-Even after pumping 600 gallons of water out of his main office, Singing River FCU President James B. Smith, Jr. said that Hurricane Isaac wasn't that bad.

But then this is a CU that knows something about storms.

The 21,000-member, $165-million credit union was closed for nearly four days, and saw more than 600 gallons of rainwater come into the facility as a result of blown-in windows, roof damage and water seeping in through the walls. But Smith said that because the credit union planned well, the only casualties were some furniture. More than 100 plastic containers were filled with documents in advance of the storm to protect those papers from moisture.

"If Katrina was a 10, this was probably a three," Smith told Credit Union Journal, noting that while Isaac "produced exceedingly more rain than Katrina did," there were no floodwaters to contend with. Some sheetrock will have to be taken out to prevent moisture from turning to black mold, but Smith said the CU was fortunate that it never lost power or communication this time.

Singing River was hit hard by Katrina seven years ago, and Smith said that "to the rest of the world, never having gone through what we've gone through, this would have been horrific."

Smith said that most employees' homes were not significantly damaged by Isaac. "Because we went through Katrina and it was so horrific, this is clearly an issue for us, but this is very, very minor compared to what we've lived through before."

He called the mood "chipper" at the CU, despite having to transfer desks from the flooded loan department to the lobby and having more than 75 members waiting at the front door and drive-thru windows when the office opened at noon.

"We've ordered pizza for our staff, so we're eating pizza and serving members right now," said Smith.



See also: "Veterans of One Disaster Share Lessons Learned," May 30, 2011 (

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