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Cornerstone Disaster Response Update
Thursday, August 31, 2017 7:00 AM

Statement from Cornerstone Credit Union League President/CEO Caroline Willard
While we never want to live through a natural disaster of this magnitude, the cooperative spirit of credit unions always rises to the top. I thought I knew what 'people helping people' meant, but this week, I've been schooled.

It’s been an amazing experience to be a part of the Cornerstone Credit Union League and be able to see a staff offer 24-hour support to credit unions, hear the amazing stories of credit unions working together and sharing information and resources to lift up the industry as a whole, and at the same time see the national outpouring of offers to assist.

Cornerstone’s disaster response team is working around the clock to determine the needs of affected credit unions, while managing offers of assistance to those in need. Cornerstone staff is incredibly grateful to those from across the country that have already offered to help. We know that in the coming days and weeks, credit unions in affected-areas will begin to have a better understanding of their needs as they assess damage to offices and the needs of members.

This is an amazing system in which we find ourselves. We are working closely with national partners like CUNA, CUNA Mutual Group, the National Credit Union Foundation, and the NCUA. We are also learning of the cooperative support from system partners like CO-OP Financial Services, Catalyst Corporate FCU, and CU South; as well as friends of the credit union system like Bo McDonald with Your Marketing Co., and credit union consultant and personal friend Ondine Irving.

Statement from Cornerstone Credit Union League Chairman Mike Kloiber, President and CEO of Tinker Federal Credit Union, Oklahoma City
Cornerstone's board is proud of the disaster response that the team has put together thus far, and we are 100 percent supportive of doing what it takes to get credit unions in the region up and running again. In Oklahoma, I have personally seen and been a part of natural disasters including tornados that impacted my credit unions’ employees and operations, as well as having been a part of the cooperative credit union response to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995. The league, foundation, and system partners have always answered the call.

Cornerstone Responds to the Call for Aid
On Aug 30, the Cornerstone Credit Union League and Credit Union Resources contributed a combined $10,000 to the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation to provide immediate grant assistance to credit union staff and volunteers who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and resulting flooding and water damage. Cornerstone staff is also collecting in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Dallas to support the needs of 13 identified shelters across the region.

Affected Area, By the Numbers
By the middle of the day Wednesday, Cornerstone had contacted or attempted to contact every credit union in the affected areas either by phone or email. While we still have not made contact with all credit unions, we know that in the coming days we will begin to learn of the true impact on credit union branches, operations, and the thousands of employees and volunteers who have been affected by this tragedy.

Monitored credit unions: Cornerstone staff is monitoring 198 credit unions in the Hurricane-and flood-affected areas, or areas that could potentially be affected. This includes all credit unions regardless of their membership with Cornerstone as well as branches of associate-eligible credit unions (main credit union office resides outside the Cornerstone region).

Affected offices or branches: There are roughly 600 branches in the affected areas, including the following counties: Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

Potentially affected employees and volunteers: There are roughly 6,000 employees and volunteers in the affected areas. Additionally, Cornerstone is offering support to its own Houston-based staff who have been affected by the tragedy.

Donations to Cornerstone Foundation and CUAid: As of Wednesday afternoon, the National Credit Union Foundation’s CUAid and the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation have collected more than $491,600 to support the needs of employees and board members. Roughly $100,000 has come in through the Cornerstone Foundation with the remaining contributions having been made to CUAid. Additionally, 28 Phase One disaster relief grants totaling $27,750 have already been approved and funded by the Cornerstone Foundation.

CUNA Mutual Group to Participate in Insurance Village with Boots on the Ground This Week
CUNA Mutual Group has a team flying into Austin, Texas, Thursday and will be located in the Corpus Christi area. CUNA Mutual will be participating in the insurance village being coordinated by TDI and are aiming to have the mobile HQ set up at this village by Friday, Sept. 1. The village will be located at:

Home Depot
5041 S Padre Island Dr.
Corpus Christi, TX 78411

This will be a moving village and as locations change, CUNA Mutual will communicate this. CUNA Mutual will have dedicated staff assisting members with Debt Protection (DP), DPIU, Life claims. CUNA Mutual knows getting information from credit unions, members, doctors and employers located in this area will be difficult for months, so it is prepared to provide the support needed.

CUNA Mutual’s goal is to avoid delays for credit unions and members. CUNA Mutual will also be available to assist credit unions, should they visit the village. While staff working the unit may not have answers to all questions, they most certainly will be a conduit to immediately get the assistance needed.

CUNA Mutual is also developing a plan to work with members currently on claims that are unable to obtain information for ongoing support of their disability or employment status.

CUNA in the works: Cornerstone is working with CUNA to establish an "Adopt a Credit Union" program to connect unaffected credit unions with affected credit unions for the purpose of ensuring their safety, soundness, and business continuity. Watch for more information soon as this program gets underway.

CO-OP Financial Services: CO-OP has made a $10,000 donation to the relief of credit unions and their members impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey. CO-OP has also made both monetary and human resources available to help credit unions through the crisis. Credit unions are urged to initiate contact with their relationship manager or Client Services at 1-800-782-9042.

About 300 CO-OP Shared Branch locations and 1,500 CO-OP ATM locations are available to members displaced or unable to do business at their local credit unions. To find a CO-OP Shared Branch or a CO-OP ATM, please visit https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator; or download the new CO-OP ATM and CO-OP Shared Branch mobile Locator app at Google Play and iTunes stores.

 

Best Ways for Credit Unions Across the Country to Provide Assistance
We’ve been moved by the offers of support to credit unions in Southeast Texas affected by this disaster. As we are continuing to assess the ongoing situation and prepare credit unions for recovery, we’re asking those who want to help do one of the following.

Donate to CU Aid

Donate to the Cornerstone Foundation, which will provide direct disaster relief assistance to credit union staff and volunteers.

If you have a specific resources you can make available to support business continuity or recovery efforts of credit unions, email DisasterNotification@cornerstoneleague.coop.

We are also asking credit unions in unaffected areas to support evacuees and displaced humans (and their pets) through Cornerstone's Credit Unions Care community engagement initiative.

New! Credit union Facebook Group: Cornerstone has created a special Facebook group for credit unions only, called Hurricane Harvey – Credit Union Updates. You can join that page here. This group is a designated connection site for credit union people to post their status and request help for their business continuity needs, etc. Importantly, it is also a place for unaffected credit union people to address the needs of affected credit unions.

We are continuing to provide updates on our website and daily newsletters as well as at a resource center at our website.