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Illinois tornado brings out CU philosophy
NAPERVILLE (3/1/12)--A tornado that ripped through the small, southern Illinois community of Harrisburg Tuesday night apparently did not damage Illinois credit unions. However, credit unions are putting their philosophy into practice.

A well-being check by Pat Voss, Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) regional director for the area, and other staff discovered that no credit unions in that region were significantly impacted by the storm.

This includes NYC Employees CU, which is located in Harrisburg. One other Harrisburg credit union, Southeastern Electric ECU, was closed Wednesday because rescue crews used the community center where the credit union normally operates for emergency relief operations.

This region of Illinois is represented by the Egyptian Chapter, which includes nine credit unions that serve more than 34,400 members and hold $253.2 million in assets.

Two of the credit unions in the area, SIU CU, Carbondale, with multiple branches, and River to River CU, located just south of Harrisburg in Vienna, have offered assistance to other credit unions.

"We will certainly step up if a credit union needs assistance with cash checking or anything else," said Dennis Schaefer, SIU CU CEO. Three of the credit union's staff are members of a community emergency response team. "We have a mutual agreement with the Elverado Fire Department to assist with this and other efforts, much like we were afforded assistance with past storms that affected us," Schaefer said.

"We have office space and extra furniture," said Sheila Reichert, River to River CU CEO.  "Basically, if we have it and can share it, we will be glad to."

If any credit unions need financial assistance in their recovery, the Illinois Credit Union Foundation is ready to activate its disaster relief fund. Credit unions that need assistance may contact Vicki Ponzo, foundation executive director at 630-983-3413.
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