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Eight CUs sustain minor damage in weekend tornadoes
MADISON, Wis. (3/6/12)--Eight credit unions in the Midwest and the South sustained some form of damages--mostly minor--during last weekend's tornadoes. While most credit unions appear to have emerged relatively unscathed, they remain on alert to help members impacted by devastating storms in 10 states.

At least 39 people were killed in five of the states hit by 74 tornadoes. The deaths were in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama and Georgia (USA Today March 5).

"The CUMIS Property and Casualty Disaster Team has been in touch with all impacted leagues, as well as those credit unions we identified as being in the path of this past weekend's storms," said Phil Tschudy, media relations manager for CUNA Mutual Group.

"Although we've identified eight credit unions that sustained some form of damage, all but one report those damages to be minor. The one exception is to a branch facility in North Carolina that sustained damages to the exterior," Tschudy told News Now. For confidentiality reasons, he could not name the credit union.

Five tornadoes touched down in Ohio on Friday (weather.com March 3). At least three deaths have been reported. However,  no Ohio credit unions appear to have suffered any structural damage, according to Patrick Harris, the Ohio Credit Union League's director of media relations. "We appear to have been very lucky," Harris told News Now.

About 80% of the town of Moscow, Ohio, was devastated by a tornado, said Karen Riels, vice president of marketing and operations for Classic FCU, Amelia. Moscow is about 10 miles from Amelia.

Most Moscow residents were not allowed to access their homes on Sunday, Riels said. Much of the area was without power through the weekend.

No homes owned by Classic FCU employees suffered major damages, but the credit union was working Monday to help members in the early stages of the recovery process.  The credit union is waiving fees for check reordering and easing password standards for members logging into their accounts. "We're doing anything we can to simplify processes for them," Riels said.

Violent storms also tore through southern Indiana, killing at least 14 people and damaging several small communities, according to weather.com.

Substantial damage was sustained in Clark County, Ind., where Clark County Indiana Teachers FCU is located, said Wanda Holdaway, manager of the Jeffersonville, Ind., credit union. She heard from one member whose car was crushed during the storm. "I am waiting to hear from more people," Holdaway said. "Considering our field of membership, I know there will be more."

Thirteen tornadoes touched down in Kentucky, killing at least 12 people, according to weather.com.

The L&N FCU branch in Erlanger, Ky., located in Kenton County, suffered no damage, although "the tornadoes touched down all around us," Laquinta Strickland, branch operating officer, told News Now.

Strickland said she had heard of one member whose home had been destroyed. No branch employees' homes were damaged, she said.

At least two confirmed tornadoes struck the northern part of Alabama Friday, damaging homes and other buildings and businesses (weather.com March 3).

A deadly tornado that struck two counties was 1,000 yards wide--or the length of 10 football fields put together--and resulted in the death of one Alabama man (wsfa.com March 5).  Alabama credit unions also appear to have escaped unharmed from the weekend tornadoes.

"As of right now, after checking with just about all of the state's credit unions, the tornadoes did not damage any credit unions or cause power outages for credit unions," Mike Bridges, vice president of marketing and communications for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, told News Now Monday afternoon. "We have heard of some damage to credit union staff's homes, but have not confirmed that yet."

Illinois credit unions reported no damage from Friday's tornadoes, Will Wille, public relations coordinator for the Illinois Credit Union League, told News Now.

Two substantial waves of severe weather hit Tennessee Friday but no deaths were reported. About 75 tornado warnings were issued in the state, with several tornadoes reported resulting in several injuries statewide (weather.com March 3).

The storms and tornadoes that hit the Chattanooga, Tenn., area Friday--injuring at least 33 people and damaging hundreds of homes--constituted the second-largest outbreak in the last 25 years, according to local experts (timesfreepress.com March 4). It was unknown whether any credit unions in that state were directly impacted.
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