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N.J. CUs continue struggles from Sandys aftermath
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (11/15/12)--The New Jersey Credit Union League is encouraging its member credit unions impacted by Hurricane Sandy to apply for CUAid Disaster Relief Fund grants. New Jersey's credit unions are still dealing with the aftermath of the Oct. 29-30 superstorm.

CUAid is the credit union movement's national Disaster Relief Fund maintained by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). The movement has now raised more than $178,000 to aid credit union staff, volunteers and members affected by the storm, according to Christopher Morris, NCUF director of communications.

"The devastation in New Jersey has impacted millions of people's lives. We continue to deal with a gasoline shortage, lack of basic necessities for those who have lost their homes, and many are still without power," said league president/CEO Paul Gentile (The Daily Exchange Nov. 14).

Gentile noted he was "touched by the outreach we have received from credit unions and credit union system organizations throughout the country. It is so valuable to have a fund like CUAid available to concentrate fundraising efforts."

Because of issues related to Hurricane Sandy, some credit union attendees at the New Jersey Credit Union League's Lending Roundtable Tuesday--such as  staffers from Atlantic FCU--participated in the roundtable via video conference call. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League)
The league also noted that in the wake of the storm, credit unions are stepping up to make unique loans to help members in need. At the league's Lending Roundtable on Tuesday, credit union lending professionals shared some ideas for Sandy relief.

They included:

  • Unsecured loans with deferred payments of 60 or 90 days;
  • Holiday loans at lower interest rates; and
  • Skip-a-payment options. Credit unions often offer skip-a-payments at certain times of a loan term, but some have offered the option also for November and December if the member requests it.
Attendees at the roundtable also learned about CUAID and were provided information about grant fulfillment procedures and applications found on the league's website. The meeting took place at the league's office with two remote locations videoconferencing in to accommodate credit unions affected by Sandy.

Sandy hit the East Coast after being downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm. However, it combined with a cold front moving from the northwest and a high pressure system moving in from Greenland to land as a superstorm that impacted 881 credit unions, mostly in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. It was about 800 miles wide, its winds reaching to the Great Lakes.

The storm, which created unprecedented flooding in lower Manhattan and power outages for about six million people, created havoc from North Carolina to the New England states. At least 56 people in the U.S. and 67 in the Caribbean were killed (The Atlantic.com Nov. 1).

Early damage estimates ranged as high as $60 billion.  Claims Journal reported Wednesday that the storm damaged or destroyed more than 65,000 recreational boats, resulting in about $650 million in damage, making the storm the single-largest industry loss since the Boat Owner's Association of the U.S. began tracking losses in 1966.
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