USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union Offer Assistance to Disaster Victims
While financial institutions that cater to service members, veterans and their families aren’t always angels, both USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union have historically done a good job at coming through with some extra services when military families are most in need.
Today, a large number of military families are being affected by the terrible fires in Waldo Canyon and the outskirts of Colorado Springs – home to thousands of families that support Fort Collins and the Army’s 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment as well as the Air Force Academy (photo credit: Kerry Webster).
Less than a week before, thousands of military families near CENTCOM and Joint Special Operations Command and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Eglin Air Force Base, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Camp Blanding and Jacksonville were struck by severe flooding, courtesy of Tropical Storm Debby, which ravaged northern Florida and the Panhandle area earlier this June.
Insurance and Claims Response Centers
USAA is a major player in the home insurance market for military families. As of this writing, the Colorado Springs wildfire has destroyed more than 300 homes, with many more at risk. The company has established a number of on-site response teams. If you have experienced a loss, and need to speak with a USAA representative to file a claim, visit this website for a listing Colorado Springs response team locations around the community.
Navy Federal Credit Union Disaster Relief Assistance
Meanwhile, Navy Federal Credit Union has established a formal program to help their members affected by disasters to get back on their feet. If you are located within a federally-declared disaster area, you may be eligible for the Navy Federal Credit Union’s program.
Specifically, NFCU is offering qualifying members up to $15,000 in emergency loans. The interest rate on these loans is 6 percent, with payments deferrable for up to 90 days (though interest will still accrue). The loans can be repaid over 60 months, or five years. This may help homeowners and business owners affected by the disasters to get back on their feet, following the loss of a home, vehicle, job or -- in the very worst cases -- a loved one, as a result of the disaster.
Additionally, if you are experiencing a financial hardship as a result of a disaster, NFCU is also giving out increases in credit card limits and payment deferrals in certain circumstances. You may have to provide some documentation, and you generally must provide some documentation verifying your hardship.
You must also apply for the loan within 45 days of the day on which the Federal Emergency Management declared your home a disaster area. Generally you can qualify for the loan if you live in a federally-declared disaster area, or if you own property in one. You don’t, however, necessarily be an existing Navy Federal Credit Union member. You can get the loan if you meet the eligibility requirements set forth above. However, you must set up a direct debit account with Navy Federal Credit Union, or your rate will increase to the regular personal credit interest rate.
For immediate assistance or to apply for an Emergency Relief Loan, call the Navy Federal Credit Union at 1-888-842-6328.
A number of charities also provide emergency relief to military families undergoing financial hardship – often providing loans on little more than the say-so of the company commander.
Examples include, the American Red Cross, Army Emergency Relief Fund, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Air Force Aid Society and Operation Home Front. This is in addition to the many food-banks, family support group organizations and other church, synagogue and charity organizations in these communities.
Fires Impacting Logistics
Both USAA and Armed Forces Bank of America, another company that provides insurance, banking and financial services to military families, also have significant operations in Colorado Springs, which has been affected by this week’s wildfires. USAA actually opened a large service center in Colorado Springs as recently as 2010. These companies are still providing services even though many of their own employees have been forced to evacuate from their homes. AFSA is reporting that their call center has been affected as some workers have been unable to report to work. You may be experiencing longer wait times on the phone than usual.