Now over a week since Sandy hit New Jersey, credit unions are still feeling the effects of that storm as well as the Nor'easter "Athena" as are many New Jerseyans as power outages, gas shortages and school closings remain. We continue to serve as a repository for news and updates to ensure our credit unions understand the latest and what services are available.
Find below important updates and cancelations, a list of credit unions and their statuss, and well as assistance that is available.
NCUA Clothing Drive: Earlier today, Buddy Gill, Senior Strategic Communications and External Relations Advisor at NCUA, dropped off a generous donation of clothes and non-perishable food items that the agency has been collecting from staff at its Alexandria, Va. office for the past week.
Left: NJCUL President/CEO Paul Gentile (left) helps NCUA’s Buddy Gill (right) unload the 20-foot truck full of clothing and food donations. Right: NCUA’s donations of clothes fill an entire office space in the NJCUL building.
Last week, after news of Hurricane Sandy’s major effects on New Jersey broke, NCUA immediately contacted the New Jersey Credit Union League with plans to collect clothing for those in need.
The agency collected clothing and food from its staff that was delivered to the NJCUL office in Hightstown today. NJCUL staff also collected clothing, blankets, pillows, and canned goods, and Rutgers FCU also made a donation to the lot.
These donations will be available for credit union employees, volunteers, members, and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.
New Jersey credit unions that are interested in distributing these donations to people and communities in need can contact the League to coordinate a pick-up date and time next week. If interested, please contact Marissa Anema at email@example.com or at 800-792-8861 ext. 117.
$1 Billion in Disaster Relief Funding Available from Federal Home Loan Bank of New York: In response to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY) is making $1 billion in disaster relief funding available to nearly 340 community-based lenders to help rebuild communities in New Jersey and New York designated by FEMA as disaster areas. The funds are being made available by the FHLBNY through its Community Lending Programs (“CLP”) to be used as immediate gap financing.
“Hurricane Sandy brought unprecedented destruction to cities and towns across New Jersey and New York,” said Alfred A. DelliBovi, president and CEO of the FHLBNY. “We now begin the long process of recovering and rebuilding. The $1 billion in funding we are making available will help our members – the local lenders serving these communities—make a long-term, positive impact on recovery, relief and rebuilding efforts.”
The $1 billion CLP commitment can be used for any residential lending activity for households whose incomes are at or below 115 percent of the area median income, as well as all small business and economic development lending in FEMA-designated disaster areas, and bridge financing. These low-cost loans can be used by the FHLBNY’s member-lenders to support critical disaster relief financial activities, and meet the short-, medium-, and long-term funding needs of affected communities in New Jersey and New York.
Last year, the FHLBNY announced a $500 million CLP commitment in response to the massive scope of damage created by Hurricane Irene. Home Loan Bank members tapped this funding to make small business loans in the wake of that storm.
For more information on the disaster relief funding, and for a list of counties designated by FEMA as disaster areas, please visit: www.fhlbny.com/drf.
FEMA Transitional Sheltering Assistance Available for Hurricane Sandy Evacuees with Inaccessible or Unlivable Homes: FEMA, at the request of the state of New Jersey, has activated its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, which allows eligible evacuees from Hurricane Sandy, who cannot return to their homes, to stay in hotels or motels until more suitable housing accommodations are available.
This federal assistance is intended to provide a place to stay for a longer period of time for evacuees whose neighborhoods are not accessible or whose houses have been destroyed. The initial period of assistance is from Nov. 1, 2012 to Nov. 14, 2012, with a Nov. 15 checkout. However, this federal program will not reimburse applicants for previously incurred hotel expenses. Applicants are responsible for their own meals and for any lodging costs above the authorized allowance.
"To be eligible to receive this federal assistance you must register with FEMA,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael J. Hall. "Keep in mind the TSA initiative is only a temporary fix. We are working diligently with our state and local partners to develop a long-term housing solution to help people until their homes and communities are repaired or rebuilt. But, again, you must register with FEMA to be able to benefit from this short-term aid."
You can register for FEMA assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via smart phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
There are currently over 30,000 eligible disaster survivors for this program in New Jersey. Hotel and motel owners interested in becoming a participating TSA location may register at https://ela.corplodging.com/.
Dealing with Lost Pay Caused by Hurricane Sandy: A person otherwise able to work must be separated from employment (and wages) for a week or more through no fault of their own to be eligible to collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. So, a person not getting full pay (or any pay) while a business closes for a week due to power loss may result in them being eligible for UI benefits during the closure. The same goes for people working for a business that will be closed for several weeks or months while the business rebuilds.
Under normal circumstances company officers, owners, and some hourly workers are often not eligible to collect regular UI. However, as of November 6th, all 21 counties in New Jersey have qualified for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of Hurricane Sandy. This means that some people who are not eligible for regular UI but have lost employment or had their employment interrupted may now qualify for UI benefits. More information is available by clicking here and here.
The NJ Department of Labor has advised that anyone who thinks they may be eligible for benefits (regular UI or DUA) should first file an unemployment claim at www.njuifile.net – online filing is fastest. A 30-day deadline ending December 3, 2012 is in effect for filing claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy. When asked for the reason for the separation, the person applying should select “Other” then type “Hurricane Sandy” in the comment box. This is a key step as the Department will first screen applications for regular UI, make a determination, and then notify individuals if they may qualify for DUA as a result of the storm.
Those without Internet can file claims by phone:
North Jersey -- (201) 601-4100
Central Jersey -- (732) 761-2020
South Jersey -- (856) 507-2340
Out-of-State -- (888) 795-6672
Please be aware that just because a person files for benefits does not mean they will automatically be awarded them. Each application that is received will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if all eligibility requirements have been met.
CUs Offering Assistance to Aid Members' Recovery: Healthcare Employees FCU is offering an Emergency Loan that has no payments due for the first 90 days where members can obtain up to $3,000 at 3% for 30 months. These loans will be made available through December 15, 2012.
ABCO FCU is offering a low-interest, Disaster Relief Loan to its membership. For homeowners, up to $25,000 is available at 2.99% APR for up to 48 months. For renters, up to $5,000 is available at 2.99% APR for up to 48 months. Members can use this loan for flood damage, tree removal, vehicle damage, fence repair, shrub replacement, generators, and insurance deductibles.
Polish & Slavic FCU is has set up charging stations in its branches for members who are still without power. A special area has been designated at its Clifton branch for neighborhood children who might need electricity to complete their homework assignments. The CU has also started collecting necessary non-perishable items, such as batteries, blankets, pillows, warm clothing, and outerwear, as well as personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and other personal hygiene items for the hurricane victims in our community.
McGraw-Hill FCU is offering a loan option for members that live in the mid-Atlantic region who may have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The loan features: expedited turnaround time with the to make funds available in 24 hours, rates as low as 5.99% APR with repayment options up to 60 months, borrow up to $10,000 unsecured, option to defer payments up to 90 days.
West Orange Municipal FCU is providing temporary credit limit increases on its VISA Platinum card and for the period of October 31st to November 16th, 2012 is waiving late fees on loan and VISA payments as well as honoring ACH electronic debits for those members whose payrolls were not yet deposited due to issues at their employer. Fees are being waived when paying these electronic debits even if it has resulted in an overdraft condition.
1st Bergen FCU is offering STORM Loans up to $3,000 at 2.99% for 36 months. Interest payments will be deferred for the first 3 months. A loan from 1st Bergen can be used to help with the purchase of emergency items such as the following: home repairs, heating, vehicle repairs, insurance deductibles, and other storm-related items. Also, 1st Bergen FCU, in conjunction with Sandy Aftermath Fund for Economic Recovery (SAFER), will provide grants and loans for: repair of community action agency facilities that provide essential services, emergency repairs that enable rapid occupancy of a home, replacement automobile purchases, rent and relocation assistance, and grants to non-profits for purchase and distribution of emergency goods. Funds will also be available for other needs such as furniture and essential household goods.
Next Week's North-Central Chapter Meeting Canceled: The North-Central Chapter Meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, November 14th has been canceled. An announcement will be sent once a new date is scheduled.
NJ League of Municipalities Convention Canceled: The Executive Board of the NJ League of Municipalities announced the cancelation of its 97th Annual Conference next week in Atlantic City due to the cumulative impacts of Hurricane Sandy, the forecasted northeaster, and the ensuing public safety and health concerns in communities across the state. “This decision reflects the need for local elected and appointed officials to remain in their communities to continue their restoration and recovery efforts.”
The NJCUL has been exhibiting at the convention for the past several years to both raise the visibility of credit unions and enlist grassroots support for municipal deposits reform. This year’s NJCUL booth theme was to be “New Jersey Credit Unions: Now Open for Municipal Banking.”
In lieu of the convention exhibit, the NJCUL will initiate a direct mail campaign to ensure local elected officials and finance officers know to include credit unions when considering potential municipal depositories.
Governor’s Storm-Related Executive Order Impacts Financial Service Providers: Governor Chris Christie signed an executive order pertaining to damages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Below is an excerpt from the Executive Order pertaining to banks and credit unions. The full Executive Order is available on the League Web site by clicking here.
All insurers, banks, savings and loans, mortgage bankers and brokers, insurance producers, real estate brokers, and any other person or entity subject to licensure or regulation by the Department shall take into consideration the difficulties related to Sandy that all citizens of the State continue to suffer and therefore exercise appropriate forbearances on collection, cancellation, documentation and other regulatory requirements, including, but not limited to: notifications of hospital admissions; due dates for claim filings, premium and loan payments and late fees; prior authorization requirements; and limitations on prescription refills.
Shared Branching Update: We have a total of 66 Shared Branching outlets in NJ. As of right now, 64 are up and running; the League is currently communicating with two Shared Branching credit unions on the status of their kiosk: Affinity FCU in Middletown and United Teletech in North Brunswick, where the kiosk has been down, but teller line has been up and running. The League will be providing the specifics on which outlets are open and closed directly to CO-OP.
Credit Union Statuses
Below is a list of updates that we at the League have received from some of our credit unions:
1st Bergen FCU – All operations were fully restored as of Monday.
ABCO FCU – All branches are open and operating according to normal business hours.
ADP FCU – Branch offices in Roseland, NJ and Alpharetta, GA open during normal business hours.
Advanced Financial Services FCU – Open and fully operational.
Affinity FCU – All branches continue to be open – none were affected by the Nor’easter.
Atlantic FCU – All branches are open and have resumed normal operating hours and services.
Atlantic City Electric Co. FCU – Credit union opened last Tuesday, October 30th with only two staff up and functioning fully. All staff were in by Wednesday.
Bay Atlantic FCU – Operational and all systems are functioning properly.
Bayonne Hospital Employees FCU – Was without power and Internet service and heat since last Monday evening. As of Friday, Nov. 2nd, Internet restored in hospital, so through wi-fi CU was able to connect to get its program running on laptop. All work is currently up to date. Hopeful electric will be back on Monday, Nov. 12th and business can be run as usual.
Bridgeton Onized FCU – Open and fully operational.
Camden Police FCU – Open and fully operational.
Central Jersey FCU – CU is operating as normal.
City of Trenton Employees CU – Open and fully operational.
Clifton (NJ) Postal Employees FCU – Open and fully operational.
Community Financial Services FCU – Up and running.
County Educators FCU – Internet has been restored.
Credit Union of New Jersey – All branches are open.
Deepwater FCU – Opened last Wednesday, Oct. 31st, was not damaged in any way, and is running at full service.
Elizabeth NJ Fireman’s FCU – Fully functional as of Thursday morning. No significant problems encountered.
Essex County Teachers FCU – CU has power, phone, and DP communications; reported that many shared branching CUs aren't available on the network, communicated these issues to NCUA.
Financial Resources FCU – CU is open for normal business operations. All offices, ATMs and operations have been fully restored.
First Financial FCU – All branches now with power and everything is running on a regular schedule.
First Point FCU – Hamilton and Spotswood branches open and fully operational.
Ft. Dix Federal Credit Union – In disaster recovery since Thursday, Nov. 1st., opened for business on Friday, Nov. 2nd.
Franklin St. John's CU – Open and fully operational.
GAF Linden Employees FCU – Open and fully operational.
Greater Alliance FCU – Open and fully operational.
Hamilton Horizons FCU – Power has been restored, CU open as of Saturday, Nov. 3rd.
Healthcare Employees FCU – Power was restored and HEFCU is fully functioning.
Israel Memorial A.M.E. FCU – Closed due to power outage.
Garden Savings FCU – All branches are open and fully operational. All electronic banking services have been available since last Wednesday, October 31st.
Jersey Central – Cranford office open.
Jersey Shore FCU – All offices are fully operational.
Lakewood Community FCU – Closed due to power outage.
Liberty Savings FCU – All three branches have resumed regular business hours. Have had phone issues this week.
Local 194-6 FCU – Open and operational with exception of telephone lines down.
Local 32 Asbestos Workers FCU – Open and fully operational.
M&C (Menlo Park) FCU – Fully operational.
McGraw-Hill FCU – All functionality has been restored to Online Banking/Bill Payment and mobile apps.
Members 1st of NJ FCU – Up and running, no reported issues with Shared Branching.
Messiah Baptist Church FCU – Open and fully operational.
MidState FCU – After declaring a disaster, CU is up and running with full power and connectivity, and is out of Disaster Recovery Mode.
Morristown FCU – Has been open at both branches since last Tuesday, October 30th working regular scheduled hours.
Newark Board of Education Employees CU – CU is up and running. CU has been running limited services at its 2 Cedar Street location as of last Wednesday, October 31st.
Newark Police FCU – Open and fully operational.
Newark Post Office Employees CU – Open and fully operational.
North Jersey FCU – All branches open.
Novartis FCU – Just got power back earlier this week in main office, which is now open. Email server was down until Wednesday, Nov. 7th. On-campus branches are now open except OTC-Parsippany.
Parlin DuPont FCU – Open and fully operational.
Picatinny FCU – Mt. Olive branch is now open.
Pinnacle FCU – Fully operational.
Piscataway Township Employees FCU – Open and fully operational.
Plainfield Police & Firemen’s FCU – Open and fully operational.
Polish & Slavic FCU – All branches are currently open with the exception of its Garfield location, which still has no power and is operating out of its mobile unit during changed daylight hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Port Ivory FCU – Closed due to power outage.
Prime FCU – Open and fully operational.
Princeton FCU – Fully up and running as of last Wednesday.
Public Service FCU – Still without power and Internet; operating from a remote location for back office processing. Staff is at the office to answer phone calls during the day. Debit, ACH, and share drafts are OK, does not have VRU and Home Banking at the present time.
Rancocas FCU – Open and operational.
Renaissance CDCU – Fully operational.
Rutgers FCU – All branches are open and running on schedule.
Terminals FCU – Open and fully operational.
Trenton Teachers FCU – Open and fully operational.
Unilever FCU – Fully operational from a secondary location. Main office still without power. Had abbreviated operations last Thursday and Friday at the 700 Sylvan Ave. office.
United Teletech FCU – All branches are open.
Unity FCU – Open and fully operational.
Visions FCU – All offices now open. Biggest challenge is employees finding/getting gas in order to travel in to the office.
West Orange Municipal FCU – Been fully operational since Wednesday, October 31st, first on generator and then on regular power. The CU is offering space on its second floor if someone needs a place that is warm and has power, if anyone needs a spot to set up with a laptop with its own wireless air card.
XCEL FCU – All branches have resumed normal hours.
Opportunities for Assistance
FEMA Extends Aid to All 21 Counties
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended disaster assistance to all 21 New Jersey counties, the Governor’s Office announced today.
Residents can apply for help with temporary housing, repairs or other needs, according to the announcement.
Residents of the counties that had yet to been declared eligible for individual assistance by the federal government are now being encouraged to begin the process of registering with FEMA for relief. Survivors of Hurricane Sandy who suffered damage should apply for disaster assistance with FEMA - even if they have insurance or aren't sure if they are eligible.
Residents can register, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairments, according to the Governor’s Office.
Residents can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by going to http://m.fema.gov/.
New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance
The NJ DOBI asks that if a firm needs to temporarily relocate their offices that have been adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy that they call the office at 609-292-7659 ext. 50529 to let NJ DOBI know of the new location. No paper work needs to be filed immediately. Also, NJ DOBI will work with your members regarding all issues that arise from the aftermath of Sandy. Any questions, please contact Patrick J. Mullen at 609-292-7659 ext. 50529 or Patrick.Mullen@dobi.state.nj.us.
Thomas O'Shea, President/CEO of Aspire FCU headquartered in Clark, N.J. has communicated to the League that the credit union has come through the storm without power loss and is generously offering its extra office space, cubicles, and Internet access (outside the credit union's secure network) to local credit unions. The credit union can accommodate approximately 10 bodies in cubicles, conference rooms, and offices. Those interested can contact Thomas O'Shea directly at Thomas.OShea@aspirefcu.org or cell 908-403-3666 or contact League President/CEO Paul Gentile at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Jaeger, President/CEO of Credit Union of New Jersey is also offering some office space in its training and boardroom for credit unions that are without power. Contact Andy Jaeger at email@example.com or 609-538-4061 ext. 2118.
North American Buildings, a supplier of temporary buildings for disaster recovery, has offered their assistance. They have many different sizes available, some of which are 14'x66', 24'x66’, and 28'x45’. Credit unions that are interested can contact Nancy Noonan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 940-391-1385.
Sandra Mullins, President/CEO of West Orange Municipal FCU, though the credit union is without Internet and phones, is offering space in the credit union's meeting/break room to anyone without power and heat. The credit union is on the CompuSource data processing system and would be willing to try to work with CompuSource and another CU on the same system to see if there is a way for them to partition the server and access their data. Please contact Mullins at email@example.com.
Frank Berrish, President/CEO of Visions FCU offered credit unions extra space at the credit union’s Montvale location. Please contact NJCUL President/CEO Paul Gentile at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Affinity FCU is also offering credit unions in need office space, supplies, and other resources. Credit unions that are interested can contact Marissa Anema at the League at email@example.com.
The California/ Nevada Credit Union Leagues have kindly offered help to credit unions in the form of extra staffing so that staff members who have been personally effected by the hurricane can tend to their personal issues. If interested, please contact Traci Miller Olszowy, Membership Development Manager at 800-472-1702 ext. 6039 or Tracio@ccul.org.
Edwards & Edwards, which provides legal services to numerous N.J. credit unions and the League, re-opened today after having electric power restored last night.
Bo McDonald, President of Your Marketing Company, has communicated with the League that they can assist small credit unions that are short on resources and need assistance with PR or marketing to notify members of closings, re-openings, account access information. Your Marketing Company will make its team available free of charge to assist while they work through whatever issues Sandy may have caused. Please contact Bo McDonald at 864-230-1923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The email marketing CUSO DigitalMailer, Inc. has also offered its communication suite of email, text and voice services to New Jersey credit unions free of charge. For more information, contact Ron Daly at 703-733-0339 ext. 102 or at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn Warden, Certified Credit Union Executive, a former NCUA examiner and a former CU CEO, offered to donate copies of her record retention & destruction manual to credit unions that have to reclaim/reorganize their stored records so they can determine which records need to be salvaged and which do not. To request a copy, please contact Carolyn Warden at email@example.com or 224-656-6081.
eScope Solutions has gotten in touch with the League and has offered discounted services to credit unions needing assistance. Credit unions can call 800-398-2292 ext. 151.
NJCUL Business Partner Alpha Omega Laser has a special hurricane offer to any of the credit unions that may be looking for another service provider at this time. Alpha Omega Laser will offer two months of free start up service (excluding material and postage) and waive set up on statements and e-statements. It will also offer a 10% lowest price guarantee below what credit unions are paying now (excluding postage). In this way, credit unions will get a two-month break on the labor in addition to the 10% savings that they can turn into hurricane loans. Credit unions that are interested in this offer can contact Lynn Sayad at 888-624-8455.
The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people along the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy. Credit union supporters in every state can now make donations at www.cuaid.coop.
As donations are posted through CUAid.coop, NCUF will coordinate with the credit union leagues in the disaster area to distribute money efficiently to affected credit union employees and members. 100% of the donations through CUAid goes to credit union disaster relief. In the event that all donations are not used for Hurricane Sandy relief, NCUF will transfer any and all unused funds to its "General Disaster Relief fund" for future disaster relief efforts.The NCUF has also activated the online disaster relief system CUAid.coop to raise money for credit union people along the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy. Credit union supporters in every state can now make donations at www.cuaid.coop.
Below are the documents you need in order to apply for CUAid grant funds:
Grants will only be given to credit union members, employees or volunteers. There is a limit of one grant per family living at the same address. The grant amounts range from:
Critical - $1500
Very Serious - $1000
Serious - $500
The grant amount is determined by the amount of uncovered insurance losses.
Grant applications will be available until December 1, 2012.
If your CU has experienced any damage or significant issues, we encourage you to communicate with us if possible.
We at the League hope that everyone is safe and sound. Please contact us with an update on your credit union’s operations and if there is any assistance you need.