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Ref: Florida bank offers financial preparedness info

Wakulla

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Wakulla Bank Offers Financial Readiness Tips for Hurricane Season




Survey Shows Half of Floridians Are Not Prepared

As hurricane season begins, your friends at Wakulla Bank and the American Bankers Association remind you that financial-security plans are just as important as strategies to protect your home or office. The bank’s branches in Calhoun, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties are providing free brochures for emergency financial preparedness.

A newly released survey of 625 Floridians released by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative shows that half of Floridians are not fully prepared to handle the consequences of a hurricane or other disaster.

According to a May 31 Miami Herald news article, the survey shows:

Thirty-one percent of Florida residents do not have a family disaster plan and 34 percent do not have a hurricane survival kit, which includes a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid supplies and food and water for at least three days. Both numbers reflect increases over responses to a similar poll a year ago, suggesting that last year's relatively mild hurricane season bred a measure of complacency.

Nineteen percent would not prepare their homes until a hurricane watch was issued (meaning a storm might arrive in 36 hours), 21 percent would wait for a hurricane warning (a storm is expected within 24 hours) and 11 percent wouldn't make any special preparations.

“Most disaster and evacuation plans address ways that families can secure their homes and survive without electricity and water for several days,” said Wakulla Bank President and CEO Walter C. Dodson Jr. “We want to emphasize the importance of planning ahead to protect your valuable documents, and ensure access to your cash and financial resources.”

Wakulla Bank encourages customers and the public to review its free, American Bankers Association brochures for emergency preparedness, and offers these important financial-security tips to remember when developing an emergency financial plan:

Keep forms of identification handy to help rebuild lost records or to prove your identity.

Sign up for direct deposit so that your paycheck and other incoming payments will be transmitted automatically to your bank account.

Use automatic bill payments from your bank account to enable you to make scheduled payments – phone bill, insurance premiums and loan payments – and avoid late charges or service interruptions.

Keep your important original documents in airtight and waterproof containers to prevent water damage. Examples are Social Security cards, insurance policies, tax records, home inventory lists/videotapes and car titles. This is a good idea even if you place the items in a safe deposit box at the bank, because the boxes are water resistant but not waterproof.

Keep ATM cards, debit cards and credit cards with you at all times so that you can access cash and pay bills.

Make sure you have enough blank checks and deposit slips to last several weeks.

Keep only a small amount of cash in your house or wallet to prevent theft.
Dodson said that banks are required to develop and test emergency and disaster preparedness plan and recovery procedures.

“We pledge to do our best to continue service and be up and running after a hurricane,” said Dodson. “We want our customers to be aware of the steps they need to take to be financially secure in the event of an emergency situation.”

National Hurricane Survival Initiative partners include the National Hurricane Center, the Salvation Army, the National Emergency Management Association, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the state of North Carolina and corporate sponsors Plylox, Travelers Insurance and AT&T. For more on the survey: http://www.miamiherald.com/519/story/123971.html

Wakulla Bank is an independent bank dedicated to quality and innovative service, with branches in Calhoun, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. The bank maintains more than $460 million in assets and has served the communities of Wakulla and Leon counties for over 30 years. To learn more, visit www.wakullabank.com.


This article originally published on June 19, 2007.

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