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CU System
Calif. DFI authorizes FI closures for fires CU closed
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (9/2/09)--At least one California credit union closed because its area was evacuated during wildfires raging about 12 miles from Los Angeles, and the California Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has authorized financial institutions to close for the emergency, if necessary. CalTech Employees FCU based in La Canada Flintridge was closed, not because of damage but because it is near NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which closed as a precaution, the California Credit Union League told News Now. The laboratory and Mt. Wilson Observatory were in danger from the so-called "Station" fire, but JPL's situation eased on Monday. The fire burning in the Angeles National Forest is near homes on the north side of La Canada Flintridge. The fire was within one-quarter to one-eighth of a mile from JPL on Saturday but retreated. The 50,000-acre fire doubled in size overnight Monday, charring another 50,000 acres. Tuesday morning Bloomberg.com said conditions are favorable for the fire to spread. The Station fire, which began on Aug. 26, is the largest of eight blazes burning in the state. It was about 5% contained Monday and estimates were that the blaze won't be under control until Sept. 8. Smoke from the fire is visible from the city. The areas evacuated include: La Canada Flintridge, Acton, Altadena, and La Crescenta. The latter three areas have no credit union branches. The state's DFI Monday authorized financial institutions located in areas declared to be a state of emergency by the governor to close any or all offices affected by the fires. Commissioner of Financial Institutions William S. Haraf authorized the closures in these counties: Los Angeles, Mariposa, Monterey, Placer and Yuba. He noted that consumers can have access to their funds through their financial institutions' ATM network, Internet or telephone banking. He urged financial institutions to review their lending policies in order to grant appropriate latitude to existing member/customers affected by the fire and to expedite the extension of new credit to finance cleanup or building. Use the link to access a photo of the Station fire.
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