Six months since Hurricane Harvey battered the Lone Star State, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said Texans in coastal towns, urban areas and rural counties continue to move forward with their unprecedented recovery.
And CRIF Select highlighted how it’s been involved with that process for Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU) and their auto finance customers.
“Expectedly, there is still much to do, and many Texans are still navigating their way through disaster recovery steps, especially survivors still living temporarily in hotels, short-term apartment rentals, with friends and family, or in temporary housing in the form of mobile homes, travel trailers or leased apartments,” FEMA said in a news release posted earlier this week.
“Funding from other federal agencies, nonprofit agencies and private sector donations also contributed to the recovery efforts, in addition to federal funds for immediate social needs to include crisis counseling, disaster legal aid, reimbursement to food banks and disaster unemployment,” FEMA officials added.
CRIF Select, a division of CRIF Lending Solutions and provider of indirect lending partner programs, aided TDECU for approximately six weeks during Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts in 2017 as the credit union funded nearly $5 million in relief loans for its members.
“Having served members in hurricane-affected areas of Texas for over 62 years, TDECU knows it takes the reliability and dedication of partners like CRIF Select to ensure we are there for our membership when they need us the most,” said Margaret Hartenstine, vice president of wholesale lending at TDECU. “We are very thankful for all of the help CRIF Select was able to provide to our organization and our members during this critical time.”
Based in Lake Jackson, Texas, the vast majority of TDECU’s footprint is along the Gulf Coast. As the hurricane made landfall on Friday of that week in August, credit union leadership discussed whether they’d be able to open member centers in affected areas, which included Greater Houston, the Texas Crossroads and along the coast.
While self-service channels like online and mobile banking were available 24/7 to provide critical account access to members, a primary focus was being able to provide easy access to emergency funds with limited member center access and a call center at maximum capacity.
TDECU was able to open its member centers, but quickly became inundated with applications from members either directly or indirectly impacted and in need of emergency funding. While the credit union had a team of people to decision the applications, it lacked the ability to contact members and close the loans, Hartenstine explained.
“Because of our strong relationship with CRIF Select for processing of our indirect lending applications, I reached out to (CRIF Select president Jeremy Engbrecht) that weekend to see what assistance his team might be able to provide,” Hartenstine said. “Despite CRIF Select not having a call center, he told us he’d try to help in any way he could. They reached out to our members to explain the loan terms and fill in any other gaps. This helped us fund the loans and provide our members with access to critical emergency funds.”
Engbrecht added, “Our hearts immediately went out to the victims, their families and those communities affected by Harvey.
“The entire Select team, led by Terry Criger, was happy to help such a valued partner like TDECU in any way it could,” Engbrecht went on to say.
The needs of individuals and businesses impacted by Harvey continues to be monumental. FEMA put some figures together to help industry participants see the gravity of the situation, including:
—17: Disaster Recovery Centers that remain open to support survivors
—41: Counties designated for Individual Assistance
—53: Counties designated for Public Assistance
—103: Public Assistance obligated projects to repair critical infrastructure
—306: Communities in Harvey impacted area participating in the National Flood Insurance Program
—1,923: Survivors in temporary disaster housing
—8,750: Households temporarily in FEMA-funded hotels
—91,000: Flood insurance claims
—11,903,736: Cubic yards of debris cleaned in Harvey impacted areas
—$19,976,306: Funds dedicated to Disaster Unemployment Assistance
—$625,000,000: Dollars obligated for Public Assistance projects
—$1,183,209,235: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Funds available for projects that lessen the impact of future disasters
—$1,557,571,583: Grants for Housing and Other Disaster-related expenses paid to survivors
—$3,100,000,000: Approved U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans
—$8,300,000,000: National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payments
—$13,000,000,000: Money in survivors’ pockets from Federal and State grants, SBA low-interest disaster loans, and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payments
For more details, go to www.fema.gov.