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Emergency Communications System Used To Assist State Banks Damaged by Kentucky Tornado


The March 2 tornado that destroyed many homes and businesses in northern Kentucky also severely damaged three Kentucky state banks when it tore through the town of West Liberty.

In an article published in the latest national Conference of State Bank Supervisors newsletter, Charles Vice, the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions, cited how he was able to use the Emergency Communications System run by the St. Louis Fed to get a message for help out to all banks around the state.  With the help of the Federal Reserve and surrounding area banks, the Kentucky DFI was able to assist in getting the three banks back in business by early the next week.

“When I learned the magnitude of damage the banks had experienced, I contacted the St. Louis Federal Reserve and had them send out a message through their Emergency Contact System to let other banks in all of Kentucky know that West Liberty had been hit hard and we need help,” said Vice in the article.  “Within two hours of the message going out I got calls from 30 banks in the area asking how they could help."

The Kentucky DFI then coordinated with several banks in the region to help the damaged banks get back to serving the community.  “We had about three banks lined up with $2 million in cash reserves ready to go in the event of high withdrawals.  And several others were on stand-by to deliver equipment.  The overwhelming support was amazing,” Vice also said.

The Emergency Communications System (ECS) is a free emergency alert service operated by the St. Louis Fed that is open to institutions in participating states across the country. There are currently 13 states, including Kentucky,  whose state banking agencies participate in the program.  For more information about the program, please contact Erik Soell at 314-444-7358.