As Florida credit unions prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, the LSCU will provide updates, as they become available. Currently, some evacuations have begun in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties, with this dangerous storm bringing the possibility of 200 mph winds. Yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for all Florida counties and directed the Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls across the state to allow for easier access to obtain hurricane supplies and evacuate as needed.
While the extent of the impact is still difficult to predict, credit unions should take the following steps provided by Kudulis Reisinger Price regarding mortgage-lending operations:
- For mortgage loans that closed last week, verify that the credit union’s mortgage has been properly recorded and confirm proof of insurance coverage.
- For mortgage loans that are still in the three-day right of rescission period, the credit union must fund those loans when the rescission period expires.
- For mortgage loans that are scheduled to close but have not yet closed, the credit union should consider suspending the closing date until the state of emergency has been lifted.
- For construction loans that are in the process of construction, perform an inspection of the property (including photos) as soon as possible this week to document the current state of construction. Any draw requests should be carefully scrutinized.
CU storm prep should also include the following:
- Make sure that your credit union has fresh supplies in your emergency supply kits including water and batteries, and that your employees are personally prepared. Your staff is your most valuable asset, and if they are preoccupied with their personal disaster recovery, they will not be able to help you meet your members’ needs.
- Consider increasing your cash order, and ATMs should be fully stocked.
- Consider the likelihood of flooding in your area. Storm surge can approach 10-15 feet which could mean flooding significantly inland, particularly if you are near ocean connected waterways. Raising all computers and networking equipment above ground level may help reduce the risk of ruining the workstations. Placing equipment on chairs or desks may be a good idea.
- If you are near the forecast track of a storm, secure items outside the credit union that could become projectiles during the storm.
- Make sure your roof drains for flat roofs, and that gutters are free of debris.
- Park cars in safe areas. If you are near the forecast track of a storm, move repos away from trees to a wide-open parking lot.
- Make sure all lists of emergency contact numbers are correct and current. This should include your data processing vendor, IT support personnel, credit union with reciprocal processing agreements, etc. Include multiple numbers wherever possible (i.e. cellular, land lines, home numbers, etc.) to increase the likelihood of getting through.
- Place plastic over equipment for protection. Simple garbage bags and some packing tape can help prevent water damage. Of course, be sure that the equipment is off and unplugged before covering with plastic to avoid overheating.
- Test generators to ensure they are working properly and that fuel is topped off and fuel re-suppler is ready.
- Ensure that your backup systems are working properly, and take at least one copy of your server’s data offsite on the last day before the storm hits. Ensure that you have access to the CD-ROMs and other media required to install your core data processing apps from scratch. These, plus your backups should help to get your core systems operational in the event of a total loss.