The National Credit Union Association outlines basic requirements for business continuity planning, but are they stringent enough to protect your credit union? At Ongoing Operations, we believe that a business continuity plan should cover all contingencies, and below are just a few of our suggestions.
All credit unions must adhere to the NCUA standards for business continuity planning, but those guidelines are a bare minimum for operations. While some jokes about bare minimums come to mind (e.g. “Q: What do you call the person who graduated last in their class in medical school? A: Doctor”), it bears noting that the punchlines indicate a certain lack of trust placed in the expertise of those doing the bare minimum. If credit unions wish to gain the trust of their members and their board, they should expect to go above and beyond the minimal requirements set forth by the NCUA.
Testing Your Continuity Plan
When you’re testing your business continuity plan, whether it be through a tabletop exercise involving your employees or disaster recovery testing for your technology and processes, it’s important to remember that the NCUA guidelines mandate only general solutions for general problems. At Ongoing Operations, we recognize that not all risks to your credit union will fit under that general mandate umbrella.
Each credit union has a member base specific to its location. Depending on the location, general requirements may not adequately cover the myriad of risks to your business. Whether to protect against storms that sweep the east coast and the Midwest, or fires that rage across the West Coast, specific locations will require specific plans. Often, minimal continuity plans that address a possible threat to the daily operations of your credit union may be insufficient for your area. In order to maintain an effective business continuity plan and provide seamless, uninterrupted support to your members, you’ll need to step your game up.
It can be particularly difficult to plan for the unknown. Nevertheless, plans with greater scope will tend to cover a wider variety of situations and will experience a higher level of efficiency when enacted. Preparedness should be built into the culture of your credit union, so that in the case of an unfortunate event, all hands are on deck to set your plan in motion.
Some common mistakes that we see in business continuity plans is an over-reliance on the IT side of things, or a “set it and forget it” mentality. Disaster recovery is a continual process that benefits from frequent reevaluation, updated technologies, and strong partnerships.
Ongoing Operations has over a decade of experience in planning effective strategies to keep you and your credit unions running. We understand that any credit union can essentially check whatever mandatory boxes satisfy NCUA standards, but we strive to provide support for those who want to go above and beyond to care for their members during trying times, disasters, and unforeseen incidents. For credit unions that want a leg up, we offer solutions that exceed NCUA standards in order to protect you and your members. Our CU Recovery program grants a NCUA-compliant platform to credit unions to assist with business, technology, and financial impact analyses, risk assessment, tabletop exercises, and testing.