disaster recovery plan for credit unionsWhile the victims of Hurricane Harvey are just beginning the struggle to get back on their feet, a new wave of devastation is again headed our way, this time in the form of Hurricane Irma. "Credit unions in the path of Hurricane Irma are being advised to take precautions as the storm bears down on the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. mainland," the NCUA advised. While strong and sometimes violent storms are not unfamiliar to our southern most residents, a storm of this magnitude will no doubt leave another wake of destruction to contend with, and the recovery from this disaster will be another pull on many resources. This is the very reason we spend so much time talking and formulating the crucial disaster recovery plan for credit unions.

On a positive note, Credit Unions in Houston are slowly coming back to life. However, the road to recovery will likely be a long one. The National Credit Union Foundation reported there are approximately 600 credit union branches and roughly 6,000 employees and volunteers that have been affected by the storm. Some individual credit unions are doing what they can with their personal resources to assist their staff.

For example, in a real display of the Credit Union Difference, some CU's in Texas are providing child care and hot lunches while their employees work through the arduous task of rebuilding and recovering. Reports of credit unions setting up employee assistance funds and giving extra weeks of PTO are signs of CU's supporting their employees as they help each other remove carpet and furniture, find new housing and clean up after the storm. The credit union community as a whole has donated over $500,000 to The National Credit Union Fund to provide general aid to those in need. 

As of September 5th, 57 credit unions still remained closed a week after Harvey, as reported by The Cornerstone Credit Union League in Plano, Texas. Remarkably, this number is down from even just a few days prior, which may in part be attributed to having a great disaster recovery plan in place. While many of your operations are still heavily reliant upon local servers, and while no doubt your server is securely positioned in a room on a shelf or server rack off the floor, no server room can withstand the impact of some of the flooding witnessed from Harvey. 

During a natural disaster such as Harvey and Irma, it is not only your credit union that is impacted. Keep in mind most of your members are local to you and are experiencing some of the devastating effects. It is crucial that once they have the necessities of safety, shelter, water and food, they will also take comfort knowing their finances are in order. It is in the days after a disaster, once safety is assured, that reality sinks in, and members will start logging into your mobile banking app to check balances and perhaps withdraw emergency funds as they begin to rebuild their lives.

When your doors are open, perhaps the windows will still be boarded up or carpet will need to be removed. But this is the time when you need to rely on your disaster plans you had in place for your own recovery. You must be able to run your credit union even if the server is still fried, relying on the backups in place and having credit union cloud solutions for many functions. Suddenly all that preparation and talk of the benefits of credit union cloud computing proves its worth.

FLEX Cloud Solutions eGuide

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions has a host of resources listed on their website and links providing information on urgent need grants, relief aid grants and small business loans. Additionally, contingency plans incorporating a communication plan on all levels and having information and data backup systems in place can expedite a credit unions return to normal business operations.

For credit unions looking at these events and rethinking their own disaster recovery plans, download the FLEX Disaster Recovery Journaling eGuide to learn how remote journaling works.

  FLEX DR Journaling eGuide

For our friends in Texas and Florida and along the gulf and east coasts, we are here to help. Please contact us with any questions or concerns as we have your continued safety and recovery at the front of our minds.

 

Topics: Disaster Recovery

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