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By My Credit Union
Business Continuity: 3 Keys to a Successful Program
The value of a robust business continuity program increases dramatically with the complexity of the business. Twenty years ago the average ‘active’ member may have accessed the credit union weekly to deposit a paycheck and take out cash. Today, a typical ‘active’ member accesses the credit union multiple times in a day through debit card and credit card transactions, bill pay, ATM, account to account transfer and more. An outage at almost every credit union today, for even a short period of time, is a dramatic experience for both the members and the credit union’s employees. Creating a program that has ongoing value to the entire business, developing a process that is accessible and simple to follow and designing a testing program that is sustainable are the keys to creating a viable business continuity program (BCP).
Provide Value throughout the Organization
Often BCP is viewed as a needed item only to fulfill the regulatory requirement from the National Credit Union Administration. At a minimum NCUA requires credit unions to:
NCUA’s requirement of course adds motivation to complete business continuity plans. The regulations and letters continue to be developed by NCUA. In letter 08-CU-01, released in February 2008, NCUA addresses the need for credit unions to establish plans to manage a pandemic event. Also, NCUA regulations part 748 and part 749 include guidelines for preparing for a catastrophic event.
A successful business continuity plan can add much more value to the credit union beyond fulfilling a regulatory requirement. Business continuity planning and testing can help audit the entire operation at the credit union. A successful program moves BCP beyond the IT department and into the business area of the organization. Successful programs use BCP to:
Develop a Simple and Accessible BCP
For some credit unions, the business continuity plan is reviewed once every six months. An email comes from the IT department with a 150 page document that credit union leaders are asked to review. Other credit unions have found value in providing a plan that is accessible daily and incorporated into the regular communication within the organization. This can help overcome those common reactions about BCP such as:
Creating a business continuity plan that is worked into the regular operation of the credit union can help make the program more valuable.
Test regularly – No Test is ever a failure
Testing is an extremely important part of the business continuity program. The best opportunity for learning how contingencies will actually work is through a test. Plus, failed tests can be a great way to fix a critical process.
Some credit unions have found value is testing that is both scheduled and unscheduled. An unscheduled test, such as a phone outage, can be an excellent way to document the process for handling an issue if a major outage event occurs. Also, testing can be simple. Testing for a phone tree process can be done by announcing a casual day – via the phone tree. How does the system work?
The keys to a successful test include:
Business continuity programs with viable tests are likely to provide the best opportunities for learning. Testing shows the shortfalls in process and helps the credit union find the needed solutions.
On April 30 at 2pm EST Callahan & Associates will run a webinar called Strategies for Disaster recovery and Business Continuity – sponsored by Ongoing Operations.. The discussion will include case studies from several leading credit unions on business continuity programs. The webinar will focus on (1) Business continuity plans (2) Testing business continuity programs (3) Communication strategies during a disaster.
Ongoing Operations’ focus is serving the credit union industry nationwide. We realize that there are many pieces to the business continuity puzzle and that each credit union must be able to pick and choose the options that best fit their risk tolerance levels and information technology infrastructure. Ongoing Operations can be considered a back-up office where employees can come to or count on in the event the credit union is evacuated, under construction or for any interruption big or small. Your credit union can utilize any or all of our business continuity services to ensure that you have access to your entire operation. Email, phones, ATMS and other important member contact points stay up and running. Whatever your need, Ongoing Operations has the piece of the puzzle to fit.
This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.
If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact our Callahan Media team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-446-7453.
March 31, 2008
7/26/2012 03:58 PM
Great article. Good breakdown of the value of business continuity in credit unions.
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