Community Service

CUs Damaged in New Zealand Earthquake

Relief fund established to assist in recovery efforts.

February 24, 2011
KEYWORDS credit , earthquake , unions
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Officials from the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU), a member of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), are still assessing damages caused to their member organizations by Tuesday’s devastating earthquake that all but leveled Christchurch, the country's second-largest metro area.

Given the widespread devastation in Canterbury Province, the news is better than might be expected, according to Henry Lynch, NZACU CEO.

“We know of two credit unions damaged in Christchurch, but no lives were lost and no injuries occurred,” Lynch said. “New Zealand Credit Union South (NZCUS) is our second-largest member and Christchurch Emergency Credit Union (CECU), which serves ambulance drivers and emergency medical personnel, is one of the smallest.”

As expected, members of the $1 million asset CECU have been heavily involved in search and rescue efforts in the earthquake's aftermath.

Meanwhile, $112 million-asset NZCUS staff members have been arranging emergency cash loans for members affected by the quake and will soon begin an outbound calling program to each of its 23,864 members to see whether further assistance is needed.

The 6.3-magnitude tremor, which struck the area Tuesday at 12:50 p.m. local time, killed at least 75 people and trapped hundreds more people in the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Devastation within the earthquake zone has been widespread, says Ramsey Margolis, executive director of the New Zealand Cooperatives Association. Communication in the zone is limited to text messaging and occasional emails, and homes and businesses throughout the region have been “munted,” the New Zealand term for “destroyed.”

Fortunately, food and milk cooperatives have stepped forward to provide aid to earthquake victims, Margolis said.

“Fonterra Cooperative Group members have diverted some of their milk collection tankers to bring in fresh water,” Margolis said. “The meat co-ops are helping to feed people who've been displaced and farmers in general are offering to put people from the city up.”

NZACU, which serves New Zealand's 21 credit unions, is taking steps to help its member institutions. The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, part of WOCCU, has also stepped in and will work with NZACU's Canterbury Earthquake Relief Fund to channel donations to credit unions in need.

WOCCU will contribute from its own disaster relief funds and invites interested individuals and credit unions to contribute to New Zealand credit union rebuilding and relief.

“The global credit union movement has distinguished itself through unity and cooperation, especially in times of dire need,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president/chief operating officer. “New Zealand’s credit unions have consistently been among the first to step forward to provide assistance to credit unions elsewhere in need. Now it is our turn to help them so that they, in turn, can better help their own members recover from this disaster.”

WOCCU will send its donation directly to the Canterbury Earthquake Relief Fund. Those interested in making a contribution to New Zealand's relief efforts can send their donation via check, credit card or wire to: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, 5710 Mineral Point Rd., Madison, WI 53705, USA

Donations may be made online with a credit card. For wire transfer information, contact: Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions at 608-395-2055 or vbreunig@woccu.org. Please indicate that your donation is for Canterbury Earthquake Relief Fund.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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