ALEXANDRIA, Va. (9/12/08)—Credit unions and credit union members in the potential path of Hurricane Ike should prepare for all contingencies, including the possible interruption of some credit union operations, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) advised Thursday. The advisory, released as Ike was strengthening and moving toward the Gulf Coast states, noted that the NCUA will activate, as needed, a toll-free hotline for credit union members seeking information on such things as the operating status of their credit unions. That information will also be available on the NCUA website. The agency said it will also distribute a public service announcement to news outlets in potentially affected states in an effort to provide essential information to consumers about federal deposit insurance coverage for credit unions and how to access their credit union funds. Credit unions in Texas and Louisiana that could be affected by Ike are advised to review their contingency of operations plans and business continuity procedures, ensuring their ability to provide financial services to their members. NCUA encourages credit unions to ensure that in the event of an evacuation, they have taken the following important actions:
* Alternate sites are identified and prepared for potential activation; * Systems are backed up and the backup data is stored in a secure location that will be accessible (i.e., outside the impact area); * The NCUA regional office is notified with the location(s) of the alternate site(s), telephone numbers, and management emergency contact telephone numbers; * Any deploying employees should be identified and prepared to take necessary data and/or equipment to the alternate site location; and *Credit unions should test their backup systems to ensure proper operation.
In addition, the NCUA advised credit union staff and members may wish to document important personal family and financial information. It noted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Ready Campaign” (www.ready.gov, or 1-800-BE-READY) provides information about disaster preparedness, including a link to the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, a checklist of documents and steps consumers can take to maximize their preparedness. (See related story: Texas CUs, league brace for Hurricane Ike)