The Point: Feb. 8, 2013
Matz shares Hurricane Sandy insights at LI Chapter event
Nearly 100 credit union leaders attended yesterday's Long Island Chapter event, where NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz led an open discussion on the effects and lessons of Hurricane Sandy.
The group first heard remarks from Long Island Chapter President Chris Penna, COO of Nassau Financial FCU, and Credit Union Association of New York President/CEO William J. Mellin. Penna welcomed the group and discussed the region's ongoing efforts to rebuild and recover, saying, "It's not over. Our members and our communities still need us."
Mellin outlined the actions taken by the Association after the storm, emphasizing the importance of statewide communication and cooperation. He also updated attendees on the New York Credit Union Foundation's statewide Disaster Relief Fund, which has provided nearly $150,000 in grants to impacted credit unions and credit union employees, volunteer leaders and members.
Matz then took the floor to offer NCUA's perspective on the hurricane and its impacts. After commending the group for their efforts after the storm, she outlined the agency's actions before and after Hurricane Sandy hit. She then shared key lessons learned, including:
- Frequent communications with members are vital, both before and after a disaster.
- Prepare cash contingencies. The most important service credit unions can provide members immediately before and after a disaster is access to cash.
- Test and re-test critical systems, including generators, data backup files and business continuity plans.
- Partner with other credit unions-ideally in another region or state-to provide one another with an alternate back-office site and emergency facility.
After providing recommendations based on the lessons learned, Matz praised credit unions for the outpouring of support they demonstrated after Hurricane Sandy. "Credit unions often cite the philosophy of ‘People Helping People,' and after Hurricane Sandy, the philosophy came to life," she said. "We can be proud of our collective efforts in the face of adversity."
The theme of cooperation was evident throughout the event, as many credit union leaders reflected on the support they received after the hurricane. "After the storm, I felt it was such a proud moment to witness the cooperation between credit unions," said John DeIeso, chief information officer for NEFCU.
Tom Fallon, COO/EVP at Teachers FCU, added, "Right after the storm and still today, we're seeing the beliefs we always talk about put into action. The spirit of cooperation is alive and well."
Since Hurricane Sandy, the Association has initiated multiple meetings with key NCUA staff to promote communication and collaboration. "NCUA has been incredibly supportive and accessible in the months since Hurricane Sandy, and we thank Chairman Matz for traveling to Long Island and dialoguing with us," said Mellin. "When we have this level of cooperation between our credit unions and our regulators, everyone benefits."
Mid-Hudson Valley FCU's free checking account was recently recognized as a top pick by NerdWallet.com. The credit union was highlighted in the personal finance website's "February Picks Free Checking at Credit Unions" blog post. An expansive ATM network, e-statements, loan reduction with auto pay and an optional "perks package" were all cited as unique benefits of the credit union's checking account.
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