What that means for credit union operations is business practices changing more rapidly than we could have ever anticipated. In normal circumstances, we might study, consider, communicate broadly and then implement a change to our business practices in a phased and thoughtful approach.
In these unprecedented times, we don’t have the luxury of time, but we must still be thoughtful in our efforts. At CUNA Mutual Group, we catalog risk challenges and considerations for our credit union partners. These unprecedented times are making some business resiliency plans difficult to uphold. But through open communication and staying informed on critical risks, we can work through these challenges together and continue to be there for those we serve.
Review these risk topics to ensure your credit union is prepared:
- Remote/Flexible Work Arrangements: To minimize the spread of the virus, many credit unions have implemented remote work or flexible work arrangements. Be sure to provide clear and consistent policies for managing work in a new environment as it relates to availability, responsiveness and productivity.
- Employee Morale: Employees’ mental health and well-being should be a top priority. Consider ongoing check-ins with clear communications around Employee Assistance Programs, Employee Resource Groups, and other wellness resources available to your employees. Make sure your employees know that taking care of themselves and their loved ones is the most important.
- Remote Service Offerings: While so much focus has been put on cash availability, it’s critical not to lose sight of card and digital payment options. Expect an increase in use of debit and credit cards and mobile payments. In addition, consider how you will provide remote service offerings for the way you used to manage in-person transactions like loan closings, notaries or checks.
- Third Party Relationships: Though standard business continuity plans often include provisions for third party services, critical service providers will likely suffer levels of absenteeism and reduced levels of operations during this pandemic. Credit unions may want to review and assess vendors’ business resiliency plans to see that they are documented and tested to the same level as those of their own organization.
New risks will continue to emerge as the coronavirus (COVID-19) changes the way we operate. No matter the impacted business area, having a plan in place can make all the difference. Be sure that you continue to openly communicate any changes throughout the organization in a timely manner.
Now more than ever, our credit union community can rally around one another. Credit unions have always helped people through challenging times. I believe that by working together, we can keep our business operations strong so that we can do our best to support members, employees and local communities through this crisis and beyond.