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Okla. Foundation Deploys Tornado Relief Fund, Insurer Reports Damages
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (5/23/13)--The Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation Tuesday deployed its Tornado Disaster Relief Fund to assist credit union people impacted by tornadoes Sunday and Monday in Shawnee and Moore. And CUNA Mutual Group reported major damage to just one credit union.

Gary Jones, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma, was en route Tuesday morning to Shawnee to meet with two credit unions affected by Sunday's tornado. He had already met with credit unions in Moore, which was hit by an EFL5 tornado Monday. "I've been talking with a lot of people who are hurting. The human stories are incredible," he said.

Those wishing to donate funds to assist credit unions in Oklahoma should make checks payable to the Oklahoma Credit Union Foundation, mark them designated for the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund and send to:

Credit Union Association of Oklahoma

631 E. Hill Street

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For more information, contact Carrie Buchholz at 405-702-8622, ext. 215 or at carrie@cuaok.org.

"We have a lot of individuals who are credit union people who have loss of property and displacement of homes," Jones told News Now.  CUAOK reached out early Monday to two credit unions  headquartered in Shawnee--Bison FCU and Tri CountyFCU--as well as credit unions in Moore and Oklahoma City., including Tinker FCU, whose branch was destroyed. (See News Now story, Tinker FCU Branch Destroyed, Assisting Staff And Members).

"All feedback indicated there was not significant damage to credit union property and no loss of life, which was encouraging," Jones said. "We're resilient here and we truly have experience dealing with tornados."

CUNA Mutual Group reported to News Now Wednesday afternoon that its Property & Casualty Claims Disaster Team had been in contact with the league as well as all credit unions in Moore and the surrounding area. 

"In total, direct phone contact was made with 57 credit unions in the path of the large [Monday] tornado within 24 hours of the event," said Phil Tschudy, CUNA Mutual media relations manager. "This included credit unions in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa."

"Although we received reports of minor building damage to various credit unions along the storm's path, which reportedly was a mile wide, the only credit union reporting any significant building damage is Tinker FCU's branch in Moore, which has been widely reported as a total loss," he said.

"Fortunately, all employees at this branch were unharmed. Our main focus has been on Tinker, and we have had adjusters onsite meeting with its staff and assessing damages. Other than the major loss at Tinker, we will likely see minor building damage and power outage losses for credit unions in the Moore area."

The National Credit Union Foundation, which runs CUAid, the national online disaster relief fundraising mechanism for credit unions, has been in touch with the Oklahoma league, which has, at this time, decided not to activate CUAid given the number of people affected.

"As an individual, the outpouring from around the country from colleagues and others in the credit union movement and from vendors, reporters, regulators and  business partners has been universally positive and caring, and  their response  is a comfort," Jones said, noting the collaboration that credit unions enjoy.

The tornado in Shawnee killed one person, while estimates of the death toll in Moore 24.
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