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ICBA Offers Tips for Financial Preparedness During a Natural Disaster

Washington, D.C. (June 4, 2013)— The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicating an above-average and possibly extremely active hurricane season in 2013, which began June 1 and runs through November 30. While natural disasters can strike at any time, it is important for consumers to actively plan ahead, particularly with their finances. With that in mind, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) offers the following tips and advice to help customers financially prepare for natural disasters before they strike.

"The citizens of our great nation have unfortunately suffered several tragic natural disasters in recent months and we know all too well that they can occur at any time in any location, so it is important for everyone to be prepared,” said Bill Loving, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Pendleton Community Bank in Franklin, W.Va. “Your family’s safety is the most important priority, but knowing your banking and financial information is safe can give you additional peace of mind. By having a financial preparedness plan, you’ll protect yourself and your loved ones from experiencing difficulties associated with your missing or damaged financial documents."

ICBA offers the following advice to help prepare your finances before an emergency occurs:

  • Keep marriage and family records, adoption papers, property deeds, birth certificates, wills, insurance policies, passports, Social Security cards, immunization records, credit card account numbers, car titles or lease contracts, bank and investment account numbers and three years of tax returns in a bank safe-deposit box. Put each of these documents in a sealed plastic bag to keep out moisture.
  • Make and safeguard additional official copies of critical documents such as birth certificates, adoption papers, marriage certificates and the deed to your home for safekeeping and notify a trustee, close relative or attorney where your important financial information is located.
  • Keep names and contact numbers for executors, trustees and guardians in a safe place, either in your safe deposit box or with a close relative.
  • Take an inventory and keep a list of household valuables. Taking photographs of these items can help as well.
  • Start and regularly contribute to an emergency fund that can cover at least three to four months of expenses. This fund should be separate from your savings or investment account.
  • Include extra cash in your home emergency kit, which should include a three-day supply of water and food, a first aid kit, a can opener, flashlights, a radio and extra batteries.
  • Identify the records that you keep only on your computer. They may not be available if electrical power fails, so make a printout and safeguard them or back them up to an external device or Web storage facility which is safekept offsite.
  • The Web can supplement or back up paper copies. Scanned or other electronic documents can be attached to emails and stored in your email account or with secure online back-up services.
  • If you feel flood insurance may be necessary to protect your home, start shopping around now. It is too late to purchase flood insurance when a storm is imminent. Contact your insurance agent or visit FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov for more information.

For additional disaster preparedness information, visit ICBA’s Crisis Preparedness Resource Center at www.icba.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.

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