Physical security remains a top priority

Branches' technological transformations require a threat reassessment.

While cyberthreats to financial institutions—hacked databases, skimmed ATM cards, identity theft, poor cloud security—increasingly have commanded public attention in recent years, physical security remains important because of direct and destructive threats to people and facilities.

That means credit unions must stretch their dollars to cover both cybersecurity and physical security.

“The degree of different threats affects how credit unions spend security dollars,” says Mary Pifer, vice president of international marketing and product management at 3SI Security Systems, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. “Physical security is like any other threat—it moves and changes.

“The biggest recent change in physical security,” she says, “is dealing with the technological transformation of branches—more machines and more open layouts. This means fewer tellers and a greater dependence on cash-dispensing machines, which become the natural target for robbers.”

But open branch interior spaces offer some benefits. “Everybody can be observed and the presence of cash-dispensing machines can thwart a robbery,” says Michael A. Petrone, risk management consultant at CUNA Mutual Group. “The robber knows tellers can dispense only a relatively small amount of cash at a time. The rate at which tellers’ dispensers can dispense cash can be slowed, too.”

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