Snow Storm

After the storms: Cornerstone CUs proceed with caution

Posted: Mar 3, 2021 | Author: Cornerstone League
Disaster Relief  natural disaster 

Cornerstone-area credit unions are rebuilding following the extreme weather that hit the Cornerstone region a couple of weeks ago. Winter storms caused millions to lose power, and many continue to deal with the aftermath.

While First Class American Credit Union’s main office fared well, its two-year-old branch experienced extensive damage. The main water line broke in eight places, causing the branch to flood with 3 inches of water. Water poured out from the ceiling, causing repair workers to strip all Sheetrock and insulation from one side of the building and replace all the furniture.

First Class American CU water damage

“We are looking at 90-120 days to open the branch back up,” said Nancy Croix-Stroud, president and CEO of First Class American Credit Union.

Brandon Michaels, president and CEO of JSC Federal Credit Union, said branch operations were challenged during the winter storm, primarily due to the boil order, broken pipes, and loss of electricity for extended periods of time

“Due to the extended power outages, it was not feasible to keep staff at the branches, especially without heat,” he said. “Additionally, due to the widespread outages across the Houston metro area, remote team members did not have power or internet functionality. This caused severe disruption to back-end processes and operations. The boil order complicated our problems but was more of a nuisance than a hindrance.”

He said that as a result, several of his team members have thousands of dollars of repairs on their homes due to broken pipes and other storm-related damage.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) Vice President of Enterprise Fraud Brian Munsterteiger told San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT-TV, “With so many residents experiencing damage to their homes, the chances of home-improvement scams are on the rise.”

He added that fraudsters will try to capitalize on the uncertainty of utility issues and will play on people’s emotions wanting to help others after this disaster.

He also offered the following tips:

  • Beware of calls, emails, or texts that insist on immediate action to solve a utility problem or contribute to a relief effort.
  • Urgent communications may appear to come from a legitimate organization or charity; however, be on the lookout for instructions on transferring money or prizes offered in exchange for a monetary contribution. Munsterteiger reminds readers that RBFCU and other financial institutions will not place calls asking for sign-in information.
  • Federal and local disaster workers such as the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) do not solicit or accept money and do not charge for disaster assistance. 



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