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NCUA, WOCCU, CUNA Monitoring CUs in Areas Hit by Hurricane Maria
Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:45 AM

​​As Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands work to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Maria, the National Credit Union Administration has resources available to help credit unions affected by the storm.

There are eight federally chartered credit unions headquartered in Puerto Rico and five in the Virgin Islands. NCUA examiners have been working to stay in contact with those credit unions, determine their status, and offer assistance as-needed.

CU Times reports, "Since Hurricane Maria struck the island a week ago, communication has been extremely difficult since the entire electricity grid and communications infrastructure was destroyed. WOCCU, CUNA, NCUA and other credit union organizations have had very little luck getting in touch with credit union officials on the island. Only until now have we started to learn some of the details of the destruction." Read more. 

NCUA Assistance for Credit Unions
When a disaster strikes, NCUA personnel operate under three priorities:

  • Ensure the safety of credit union staff;
  • Keep facilities and operations available to members; and
  • Provide material and technical assistance, as needed, to affected credit unions.

On Sept.​ 21, President Trump issued disaster declarations for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and those declarations make federal assistance available. Under the NCUA’s disaster assistance policy for those areas, the agency will, where necessary:

  • Encourage credit unions to make loans with special terms and reduced documentation to affected members;
  • Guarantee lines of credit for credit unions through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund;
  • Make loans to meet the liquidity needs of member credit unions through the Central Liquidity Facility; and
  • Reschedule routine examinations of affected credit unions.

The NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives can provide urgent needs grants of up to $7,500 to low-income credit unions that experience sudden costs to restore operations interrupted by the storm.

​Credit Unions May Provide Help
Federal credit unions may provide assistance to other credit unions and non-members in the affected areas under certain conditions:

  • They may provide services to members of other credit unions under their correspondent services authority;
  • They may provide emergency financial services for non-members, including check cashing, access to ATM networks, or other services to meet short-term emergency needs of individuals in the areas affected by the floods, under the authority to engage in charitable activities; and
  • If they provide services on a charitable basis, they may not impose charges for services that exceed their direct costs.