Credit unions’ response to the pandemic has showcased their overwhelming dedication to serving their members and communities, providing support and compassion during times of need. However, it also exposed limitations in a significant number of institutions’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans. While most were ready to confidently face such crises as severe weather or prolonged power outages, not enough had proper, comprehensive plans in place for a pandemic and the implications of physical isolation.
Despite hopes that the virus would die down in the summer, COVID-19 cases have started spiking again in certain parts of the country, and many states are doubling down on restrictions and beginning to shut back down. Savvy credit unions are taking action now to strengthen their disaster recovery and business continuity plans, incorporating lessons learned from the pandemic’s onset and establishing protocols and best practices for a smoother transition to efficient, secure remote working conditions.
A strong first step for enhancing disaster recovery plans is to broaden the scope of situations accounted for. As COVID-19 dramatically demonstrated, crises are not limited to natural disasters and weather events. Conducting tabletop exercises to brainstorm and discuss a wider range of potential scenarios helps credit unions better anticipate and prepare for a greater variety of future situations. These conversations shouldn’t just include executives or a certain group of employees; such exercises are most effective when there is representation and perspective from teams across the institution, including HR, legal, lending, the C-suite and beyond.
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