The OGO Blog

What Disasters Should Your Credit Union Prepare for in Its Credit Union Disaster Recovery Plan?

Disaster recovery examples for credit unions from ongoing operations

There are countless threats facing credit unions every day. It’s your duty to plan for as many of them as possible. But you can’t realistically plan for them all. So, which events should you prioritize on your credit union disaster recovery plan?

How can credit unions get a little head start during their disaster recovery preparation?

Take a little survey.

No, not a credit union member survey—a threat assessment survey. The threat assessment survey will help your credit union pinpoint what kind of disaster recovery planning you should aim for.

The Credit Union Threat Assessment Survey

Okay, we promise we’re not going to make a big deal out of this. The survey isn’t the point of this blog. But still, let’s do our due diligence.

The credit union threat survey basically asks two questions. First, it asks the likelihood that any of 50 pre-identified threats will occur in your credit union’s geographic region. Then, it asks what the impact of those threats would be on your credit union.

The results are sorted and ranked, and then the survey provides the top 10 or 20 threats that you should prepare for. After you’ve taken a look at mitigating those top threats, you should give the survey to your department heads to see if they have anything to add.

It’s possible that their answers might change your results. Occasionally you may identify new high-priority threats, and you’ll have to develop new mitigation strategies to fit. In some cases, you may already have mitigation strategies in place. Truly, that’s the dream!

High Priority Disaster Recovery Examples

All things considered, 50 disaster scenarios is relatively sparse. There are many low-likelihood threats the survey leaves off:

  • Killer bees
  • AI-fueled apocalypse
  • Food shortage (from siege)
  • Food shortage (other)
  • Rogue planet enters solar system

Fortunately, you probably won’t have to plan for those. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of potential threats to deal with. In this section, we’ll introduce you to a few of the heavy-hitters—the disasters you need to plan for.

1. Pandemic

Basically every credit union of every size needs a pandemic plan. The pandemic plan should outline what to do for outbreaks of the usual suspects, like the flu and its ilk (bird flu, swine flu). It should also cover more dangerous threats, such as measles, which has seen a resurgence in the US lately.

Finally, a pandemic plan should cover some more exotic, less-likely outbreaks. The WHO is having a nightmare of a time trying to contain an Ebola virus right now. Additionally, many major cities have seen an increase in their rat populations lately, which scientists warn could bring back the bubonic plague.

While the likelihood of rare outbreaks is small, their threat should be still be mitigated alongside the more common pandemics like the flu.

2. Natural Disasters

If you live on the east coast, then you need to plan for hurricanes, snowstorms, and flooding. Any of those could not only affect your credit union, but also the entire region.

If you live on the west coast, then you should plan for earthquakes and wildfires. These threats can be incredibly devastating, but a solid disaster recovery plan could help your credit union…

Weather the storm.


3. Evacuation

One of the things that any credit union will need to include in its disaster recovery planning is an evacuation plan. Many credit unions on the west coast faced this issue already with wildfires and heavy smoke.

Evacuation plans would also help with less-likely threats such as chemical spills, military action, or just a really, really bad smell.

Your evacuation plan is a critical part of credit union disaster recovery planning. Especially if not all branches are affected by an event, you can assign some people to work in different branches or remotely if they must.

Further Reading

We’ve written quite a bit about credit union disaster recovery issues. It’s kind of our “thing.” Go ahead and subscribe to our blog if you’d like to read more disaster recovery tips and strategies.

Or if you don’t want to wait for our next post, go ahead and follow the links below!

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

Credit Union Business Continuity Planning vs. Disaster Recovery: What’s the Difference?