Iowa flood waters have inundated area bank branches and disabled ATMs, and bank executives will not be able to determine the extent of the destruction until they get a first-hand look at the damages after the waters recede.
But ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc., which has a large number of bank clients in the affected areas, says all of the ATMs have been "totaled." "Once the personal computer that drives the ATM gets wet, the ATM has to be replaced," Mike Jacobsen, a Diebold
spokesperson, tells ATM&Debit News. Jacobsen could not say how many ATMs were
affected. It also is not clear what happens to the soggy bank notes locked in the ATMs'
The situation remains literally and figuratively fluid. As the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids and the Iowa River in Iowa City recede, the Mississippi River is expected to crest above flood stage in the southern part of the state later this week.
So far, flooding has killed five residents. The floods caused an estimated $160 million
in property damage and an estimated $2.7 billion in crop damage. The amount of damage to bank branches and ATMs remains sketchy because the flooding has made it difficult for residents to move from one place to another, and some telephone lines are not working. Observers claim ATMs are key to recovery efforts because they allow disaster victims to withdraw money from their accounts, creating a sense of normality in the midst of chaos.
Some 60 ATMs in Iowa have stopped operating because of flooding in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Mike Hollinger, presidentand CEO of Shazam Inc., an EFT network that drives most of the state's ATMs, tells ATM&Debit News.
Guaranty Bank & Trust Co. in Cedar Rapids and Hills Bank & Trust Co. in Hills, a town near Iowa City, also have switched to backup bank data centers, Hollinger says. Hills Bank's data center drives its ATM network, but Hollinger did not know how many ATMs the bank operates.
Hills Bank said on its Web site Sundaythat its Cedar Rapids and Iowa City branches are closed until further notice. Guaranty Bank used its Web site to ask for volunteers to assist in flood-relief efforts in Cedar Rapids. Heavy rains, beginning last Thursday, caused the Cedar and Iowa rivers to overflow their banks in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
Shazam, which is based in Johnston, Iowa, will not know for some time the extent of damage to ATMs in the flooded areas, Hollinger says.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. Inc. said flooding forced the bank to close branches and shut down six ATMs in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Des Moines and Waterloo.
Wells Fargo also closed an off-site ATM in Jefferson, Wis., because of flooding, says
Melissa K. Morey, a Wells Fargo spokesperson. The flooding affected five states.
"When the flood waters recede, we will do much more recovery work with local banks, as well as with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank," Jacobson says.
It will be at least three to four more days before flood waters recede enough to allow
recovery workers to enter the banks, a Diebold customer service manager
assigned to the area says.