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Credit union affected by Joplin tornado

Staff writer

The tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on May 22 has had effects well beyond southwest Missouri.

Great Plains Federal Credit Union in Hillsboro has been affected by the damage. The company’s home office is in Joplin, and it was damaged by the storm.

All of the workers in the Hillsboro branch know people in the Joplin office, branch manager Elizabeth Wine said Thursday. They may never meet face-to-face, but they communicate on a daily basis.

“I’m down there at least once a year for annual meetings, so I know all of the people in the home office,” Wine said.

All of the employees at the office in Joplin are accounted for, as are their families. But several of them have damage to their homes, and at least one person’s home is unlivable, Wine said.

Because the company-wide computer network was down through at least Thursday, employees could only give limited information to customers. They were unable to provide current balances and whether a deposit had been posted, Wine said. She hoped the network would be restored Friday.

While the network was down, employees were unable to access company e-mail, so they had to conduct more business by phone.

“It may take a little longer to process a loan application because we’re going a different route,” Wine said. “But it is still business as usual.”

The credit union has collected donations of bottled water, sport drinks, diapers, and toiletries to send to Joplin. Donations were sent Friday. Wine urged anyone interested in donating to relief efforts to donate to organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

Last modified June 2, 2011

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