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ICBA Joins National Preparedness Month Coalition

Washington, D.C. (September 15, 2010)-The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today announced it has joined the National Preparedness Month Coalition, which is sponsored by the Ready Campaign  in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council.  The coalition of nearly 3,200 organizations promotes emergency preparedness during National Preparedness Month, which is held every September.

"Our nation's nearly 8,000 community banks are in the relationship business and part of that relationship is providing our customers with information that will help during times of need, including a natural disaster," said Jim MacPhee, ICBA chairman and CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank in Kalamazoo, Mich. "ICBA is proud to join the National Preparedness Month Coalition to further help our customers with additional information and resources."

Earlier this month, ICBA offered the following tips to help consumers prepare before an emergency occurs.

  • Keep marriage and family records, including 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, food, a first aid kit, can opener, flashlights, radio and extra batteries.
  • Identify the records that you keep only on 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
  • The web can serve as a supplement or back up to paper copies. Scanned or other electronic documents can be attached to e-mails and stored in your e-mail account or with secure online back-up services.
  • If you feel flood insurance may be necessary to protect your home, start shopping around.  Contact your insurance agent or visit FEMA's website at http://www.fema.gov/ for more information.

"While the first priority is the physical safety and well-being of you and your family, knowing that your banking and financial papers are safe gives you one less thing to worry about during times of duress," said MacPhee.  "Be proactive and talk to your community banker about how to prepare.  We are here to serve our customers and are happy to answer all of your questions." 

For more information and resources, including a copy of an Emergency Financial Preparedness Guide, visit the consumer education and resources section of http://www.icba.org/. For additional information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov/america/npm10/index.html.