3 ways your credit union can help members prepare for life’s emergencies

Every day, events happen that can turn lives upside down. Maybe it’s a wildfire in California, forcing people to quickly flee their homes. Maybe a medical emergency occurs when someone is out of town, away from his regular doctor. Or perhaps a water pipe breaks, damaging mortgage documents, photos or birth certificates.

While no one can prevent every traumatic event, your credit union can make it easier for members to meet life’s challenges. You can help them prepare for emergencies by providing personal safe-deposit boxes. No, not physical boxes in the vault, like the “olden” days; instead, offer a digital solution, before disaster strikes.

What’s a digital safe-deposit box?

  • Individual, secure space – With a quality online StrongBox, members can safeguard important papers, such as insurance information, medical records and treasured photographs, as well as titles, deeds and other vital records. Virtual StrongBox enables financial institutions to offer each accountholder digital, private storage space that is protected by patented encryption technology. In case of fire, flood or other disaster, members’ critical information is available right at their fingertips, anywhere they have an internet connection. And unlike typical commercial services, which commingle stored documents, Virtual StrongBoxes are private; only the member can access her files. For someone facing a significant loss, it’s a relief to quickly retrieve needed information so recovery efforts can begin.
  • Secure file exchange – Online safe-deposit boxes allow members to securely exchange documents with your credit union and other service providers, such as the insurance company or healthcare provider. A friend of mine was on vacation in Paris, when her elderly mother suffered a stroke. My friend didn’t speak French, and had a harrowing tiPme trying to communicate with doctors about her mother’s medical history and prescriptions. And although my friend had been designated the power of attorney, that document wasn’t available. If a copy had been stored in my friend’s online safety box, she could have saved precious time, authorizing medical personnel to access needed records in seconds. 
  • Estate planning – Encourage members to prepare, notarize and safely store important documents like wills, trust agreements, and medical instructions, such as DNRs, which can be stored in their online safe-deposit boxes. Too often, people know they need to prepare a will, write instructions for handling their memorial services or, more importantly, sign a DNR … but they don’t act on it. Loved ones die without these important papers in place – causing confusion; sometimes, even family feuds. Offer members a checklist of important end-of-life matters to consider, including a will and letter to loved ones spelling out their wishes. Keeping everything together in one secure place makes stressful events a little easier to bear.

Preparation is key

Of course, the time to prepare for crises is before lightning strikes or a medical emergency occurs. Encourage members to store critical documents in a safe place before they’re needed – or lost. To promote full usage of your digital safe-deposit service, make sure members understand the benefits – not just for the convenience of easy retrieval, but also the protection offered by a quality online storage program. And offer suggestions about the types of information that should be stored, like marriage licenses, birth certificates, wills and car titles.

Remember the old saying, “forewarned is forearmed”? The reason it has such staying power is that it’s true. Everyone knows life seldom goes as smoothly as planned. But your credit union can help lessen the frustration of members’ unexpected events by offering safe, secure storage for critical papers – just like the physical safe-deposit boxes of old.

From tornados and wildfires, to irritating hassles like finding the kids’ inoculation records, having the relevant information readily available can alleviate stress. Offering the means to be forearmed will delight members and set your credit union apart.

Ron Daly

Ron Daly

Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms ... Web: www.virtualstrongbox.com Details