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When disaster strikes, successful businesses have plans in place not only to survive but to spring back into operation as soon as possible. From replacing equipment and services to covering staff and contracts with vendors, business resiliency planning takes a holistic view on getting back to business while protecting your reputation.
Credit unions are no different than other organizations when it comes to the need for business resiliency and ensuring business continuity plans are in place. What sets you apart is your unique structure as a financial institution run by and for its members. Any disruption — from flood to fraud — that affects you impacts the community and members you serve, making it imperative to have a current, actionable and pragmatic plan in place.
The Bigger Picture
All business continuity plans include key steps to address the initial disruption, work through it and resume normal operations afterwards. However, when updating or creating a plan, it is important for you to understand the difference between an isolated organizational business disruption and one that also impacts your community. Your role in both cases shifts in focus and practice, as will your strategy.
A business continuity plan deals with preparing for, dealing with and recovering from organization-specific events such as a cyber security breach, burst water pipe, employee fraud or unexpected loss of a key executive. The focus here is solely on your credit union and how to resume operations with minimum losses — of profits and members, while protecting your reputation. The bottom line is that no matter the reason, when a member can’t access their funds, their tolerance level is zero.
During events such as natural disasters, one of your biggest goals is to support your community. Your priorities are to plan for the safety of your staff and people on site, support the community and enable members’ access to funds.
In a large urban centre, members can access funds from numerous outlets. But in smaller communities, your credit union might only have one branch. If members can’t access funds, that can have a huge impact and add unnecessary stress and concern during a highly stressful time. You need to know how members can get their money if they can’t access their branch and be able to communicate that effectively.
This makes it critical to collaborate with agencies, associations and other companies within your community — credit unions know your members and their needs. By collaborating with other organizations during a community disaster, you can quickly connect your members with the services they need.
You can also work with agencies to designate the credit union as a donation drop off centre, establish a process to set aside space, assign coordinators and establish guidelines for donations and distribution.
Plan, Exercise, Maintain
Business disruptions can arise from community disasters such as fires, floods, pandemic threats, etc. while organizational business disruptions can be physical — from a building fire, power outage etc. to IT issues which can shut down computer systems and operations — such as a system crash or cyber ransom attack. Key steps for an effective business continuity plan to address any type of disruption include:
For more information on effective business resiliency planning for your credit union, contact Tara Tobler, Senior Manager, Enterprise Risk Services – Business Resilience, at 403.537.8436 or
Related Topics:Business Resilience
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