NCUA Activates Disaster Relief Policy and Hotline after Tornados Strike Oklahoma
NCUA Works to Ensure Credit Union Members Receive Needed Services; Deposits in Credit Unions Protected Up to $250,000
ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 22, 2013) To protect consumers and ensure the continuity of credit union services after tornados and severe weather struck Oklahoma, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has activated the agency’s disaster relief policy, including opening the agency’s toll-free consumer assistance hotline to answer financial questions related to the emergency.
“Today, NCUA is reaching out to credit unions in Oklahoma affected by tornados and severe weather to determine their needs in the aftermath of this horrible devastation,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz. “We are opening the agency’s toll-free hotline to answer consumer questions related to their financial services options after the storm. Oklahomans affected by the disaster should know that their money on deposit at federally insured credit unions is safe.”
Credit unions in Oklahoma are open, but some branches in the affected area are closed as they ascertain the extent of the damage to their facilities. Consumers are reminded that share deposits at federally insured credit unions remain fully protected. Administered by NCUA and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures share accounts up to $250,000.
Credit union members needing emergency assistance related to the tornados and severe weather should call NCUA’s toll-free consumer assistance hotline at (800) 755-1030 and press the appropriate option. Operators will answer calls Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.
Under the agency’s disaster relief policy, NCUA will, where necessary:
- Encourage credit unions to make prudent loans with special terms and reduced documentation to affected members;
- Reschedule routine examinations of affected credit unions, if necessary; and
- Guarantee lines of credit for credit unions through the NCUSIF.
NCUA additionally recognizes the tornados in Oklahoma may affect the continued orderly conduct of local lending relationships with both individual members and member businesses. As a result, NCUA encourages credit unions to exercise prudent efforts to alter terms on existing loans for affected members. Actions may include:
- Extending the terms of loan repayments;
- Restructuring a borrower’s debt obligations; and
- Easing credit terms for new loans to certain borrowers, consistent with prudent practices.
During natural disasters, NCUA works with state regulators and state league organizations to ensure all federally insured credit unions know of NCUA’s available assistance. The agency’s examiners will remain in close contact with credit unions affected to offer advice and provide material and technical assistance, as needed.
Federal credit unions may also provide assistance to other credit unions, their members and non-members in the affected areas, under certain conditions:
- Emergency financial services for non-members, including check cashing, access to ATM networks, or other services to meet short-term emergency needs of individuals in the areas affected, can be provided under the authority to engage in charitable activities. Federal credit unions providing services on this charitable basis may not impose charges for services that exceed their direct costs.
- A federal credit union may provide services to other credit unions that it is authorized to perform for its own members or as part of its operations. This activity is part of a federal credit union’s incidental powers, so it may impose charges for these services.
Institutions in need of assistance in dealing with members affected by this disaster should contact NCUA’s Region IV office in Austin, Texas at (512) 342-5600.
NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of nearly 94 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions.