Report
384
Number
Mar 17 2016

Katrina 10 Years After: Lessons from Credit Unions and Banks

In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, credit unions across the Gulf Coast have rebuilt and recovered their operations through a variety of calculated approaches.

Mark Klinedinst
Emeritus Professor of Economics,
University of Southern Mississippi
Report Number 384

Executive Summary

Hurricanes can cause physical damage to both people and property on the grandest of scales. They also trigger economic shocks that can leave communities financially ravaged for many years.

In 2005 more than 70 countries pledged to help the people of the Gulf Coast recover from one of the costliest natural disasters in US history: Hurricane Katrina. Kuwait made the largest single pledge of $500 million. No strangers to natural disasters themselves, countries such as India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh all made significant donations. Katrina’s impact reverberated globally.

While the rest of the world carried on with business as usual, Katrina disrupted the operations of hundreds of financial institutions in the region, some severely. Credit unions in Louisiana and Mississippi were the hardest hit, experiencing extreme power outages, interruptions in business operations, branch damage, data loss, and employee turnover. With Katrina now 10 years in the past, it’s important to reflect on how credit unions have survived, rebuilt, and recovered.