MADISON, Wis. (11/20/13)--While central Illinois credit unions emerged remarkably unscathed from tornadoes that tore through the area on Sunday, they could not avoid the heartbreak that affected their employees, members and neighbors.
| At least 14 tornadoes struck Illinois and northwest Indiana Sunday, but the Illinois Credit Union League reported no damage to credit unions after reaching out to its members in central Illinois Monday and early Tuesday.|
The Illinois Credit Union League reported no damage to credit unions after reaching out to its members in central Illinois Monday and early Tuesday. "As bad as the storms were, credit unions appear to come out of it relatively damage free," said Will Willie, league public relations coordinator "Most of the reports we received pertained to power outages and ATMs that were temporarily out of service."
At least 14 tornadoes struck Illinois and northwest Indiana on Sunday. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) declared six counties state disaster areas. The strongest of the tornadoes to hit Illinois slammed into the town of Washington near Peoria, where one person was killed.
A branch of CEFCU, based in Peoria, Ill., temporarily served as staging point for first responders and emergency personnel in Washington.
"Our branch was not damaged, and I think it served as a high profile location in the area until the responders could relocate to the local fire department, said Sue Portscheller, vice president of marketing for CEFCU.
At least seven CEFCU employees lost their homes in the tornadoes, Portscheller said.
| Seven employees of CEFCU, Peoria, were among the Illinois residents whose homes were destroyed in Sunday's tornadoes. (CUNA photos)|
"Not only that, but we but we have really strong penetration in the severely impacted areas," she added. "Probably three out of four households are CEFCU members, so we are heartbroken, touched and involved with what's going on."
Three CEFCU branches were temporarily closed Monday due to power outages.
On Monday, CEFCU donated $100,000 to the Red Cross Central Illinois Tornado Relief Fund.
The credit union has also set up an emergency response team to help with members' financial needs. "Our plan was to develop a sort of one-stop shop with employees who are trained in multiple areas that can help members with whatever their needs are," Portscheller said. "Members are going to have to deal with mortgages, cars and lost account information."