For all of its natural power and destructive force, Hurricane Matthew was not been able to disrupt the ability of the credit union industry to provide financial services to members.
The unique cooperative spirit of the movement helped make this possible. Major exponents of the industry’s “people helping people” commitment are the CO-OP Shared Branch and CO-OP ATM networks managed by CO-OP Financial Services, which maintain financial services lifelines between impacted credit unions and their members.
According to Credit Union Times on Friday morning, October 7, 2016, nearly 40 credit unions in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas publicly announced branch closings for Thursday and Friday and Saturday because of Hurricane Matthew and its 100-plus miles per hour winds that affected more than six million residents.
CO-OP Shared Branch includes 5,400 “live teller” credit union branches nationwide that enable credit union members to enter any branch and conduct their business as if they were at their own home branch. Nearly 1,800 individual credit unions across the country participate in CO-OP Shared Branch. Credit union members also have access to 30,000 ATMs as part of CO-OP ATM, a nationwide network that also includes 9,000 ATMs that accept deposits.
Craig Beach, Chief Operating Officer of CO-OP Shared Branching, reported that members of his team were at their posts early that Friday morning, ready to assist any CO-OP-affiliated credit unions in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia with connectivity issues. “Everything was up and running as expected,” said Beach.
“Most of the time, our shared branch and ATM networks are great services for members in terms of convenience, but at times like these, they become critical, must have services,” said Beach. “These networks provide multiple locations throughout the country, so that if a member living in one area must relocate due to natural disaster such as Hurricane Matthew, they can continue to access their accounts wherever they need to reside temporarily.”
A key component of Florida’s credit union information network is Shared Services for Credit Unions, whose website keeps participating credit unions posted on which CUs are open and which are closed. CO-OP Shared Branch is a strategic partner of Shared Services for Credit Unions that provides up-to-date reporting on the status of participating credit unions. The locator for both CO-OP Shared Branch and CO-OP ATM can also be found at CO-OP’s consumer website at https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/.
In addition to Shared Branch and ATM services, CO-OP provides members of its participating credit unions with a variety of information and transaction services that can be valuable during weather related or other disasters such as tornadoes and earthquakes. Among these services are:
- CO-OP Mobile, a downloadable mobile banking app enabling members to use their mobile devices to check balances and banking history, make transfers, make remote deposits, and find the location of CO-OP Network ATMs and shared branches.
- CO-OP Member Center, a 24/7 call center service that can step in when credit unions are forced to close operations due to extremely weather, enabling them to continue to provide seamless contact center service to their members.