MADISON, Wis. (12/2/13)--At the request of the Illinois Credit Union Foundation, the National Credit Union Foundation will not activate CUAid.coop assistance in the wake of tornadoes that struck the central part of the state Nov. 17.
After consulting with Illinois credit unions, the state foundation determined the immediate needs of membership and staff are more pressing than the intermediate assistance CUAid would provide.
CUAid is the only program of its kind that enables credit union employees, volunteers, and members, as well as credit unions and credit union organizations across the U.S., to contribute directly to support other credit union people.
To make donations to the two primary organizations providing relief to Illinois tornado victims, the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, the Illinois foundation suggests using the links provided.
Meanwhile, Illinois credit unions continue to help their staffs and memberships recover from tornadoes that devastated several small towns.
Two Illinois credit unions maintain branches in towns where tornadoes struck: Morris Community CU in Diamond and CEFCU, with branches in Washington, Pekin and East Peoria.
An F2 tornado struck Pekin Nov. 17. A second tornado, an F4, first struck in East Peoria, and then continued on the ground to the small community of Washington. Pekin and East Peoria sustained significant damage; however, the community of Washington was severely devastated. The F4 tornado was on the ground for 45 minutes. One fatality was reported.
In Diamond, an EF-2 tornado with between 111 mph and 135 mph ripped up buildings, trees and power lines and scattering debris for many miles. About 220 homes and buildings were damaged 75 with major damage (WLS Nov. 20).
There was no permanent damage to Morris Community CU or CEFCU facilities or ATMs. However, the homes of at least 11 CEFCU staff members were damaged, and in some cases, destroyed, the Illinois Credit Union League said. Many other employees suffered losses from hail and storm damage to their properties. One staff member was injured, but is expected to fully recover.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of credit unions members were impacted by the storms in central Illinois, the Illinois league said. Several credit unions reported hearing from members who experienced losses due to the storms.
With more than 1,000 homes damaged or destroyed in the area it serves, CEFCU estimates at least three out of four households are members of the credit union. News Now reported Nov. 21 that CEFCU donated $100,000 to the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Members have CEFCU with varying financial needs, the Illinois league reports. Some have sought advice on handling their mortgages on homes that have been destroyed or on auto loans in which the vehicle has been totaled. Victims from the tornados lost many personal documents. In some cases, personal information was found 100 miles away. To ensure data security, many CEFCU members have closed their old accounts and opened new ones.
CEFCU has arranged for affected members to enroll in TransUnion Interactiv's credit monitoring service at no cost. CEFCU's debit and credit card processor, PSCU, is covering costs to expedite credit cards to members who need replacements due to the disaster. CEFCU is also waiving fees for replacement checks and stop payments for members who were affected by the storm.