NAPA Earthquake Serves as Preparedness Reminder

By Bill Prichard Senior Manager, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck Napa, California last week serves as a reminder of the need for vigilant disaster preparedness, as members depend on their credit unions more than ever in times of emergency.

September, in fact, is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies.

Now is the perfect time to remind your members of the unique role shared branching can play in their lives — in normal circumstances and emergencies.

Sarah Bang, chief strategy officer, CO-OP Shared Branching, said the shared branch network set up special identification policies for members who were without wallets or identification. “Imagine how those members felt when they were able to get $200 from the credit union,” she said.

But how do credit unions educate members about shared branching? “Just tell them,” Bang said. “Reward them with this value that your credit union gives them.” She said to make sure staff and call centers can tell members where to find a shared branch, either directing them to a website, an app or other location that will make it clear they can access credit union services elsewhere.

Studies find that about 50 percent of credit union members understand the premise of shared branching. It’s not only time to acquaint that other 50 percent, but also remind those that do understand shared branching of the many ways it can serve them.

The CO-OP Shared Branch network now comprises some 5,300 branches and 2,200 standalone locations nationwide, all of which can be found at http://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/.

Now is the time for member education for another reason. Let it not be forgotten, as the children of members now leave home for school, that they can conveniently access their home credit union accounts by working with a participating shared branching credit union in their college town.

Read more from Bang here, and you learn more about CO-OP Shared Branching here.

Strategic Link is the NWCUA’s wholly-owned service corporation, using the power of aggregation to provide the Association’s member credit unions with exclusive, high-quality, competitively-priced products and discounted services. Contact Director of Strategic Partnerships Craig Reed at creed@nwcua.org today to find out how Strategic Link can help your credit union save money while meeting its goals in 2014 and beyond.

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