Credit unions of all asset sizes seem to struggle with pandemic planning. Many Credit unions have policies that refer to pandemic plans or contagious diseases but when asked to see the plan, many have nothing in writing. Currently the World Health Organization has declared the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak a “global health emergency”. If this doesn’t move you to take action by at least reviewing your pandemic plan, then I guess you think the Coronavirus can be cured with limes. Hint: It can't.
In the past, we have had to deal with outbreaks such as H1N1, ebola, measles, and currently widespread influenza. Many credit unions' business continuity planning is focused on threats such as natural disasters and cyber events focusing on business processes and systems. What about the people who maintain the systems and perform the business processes? Most credit unions do nothing about a known outbreak until it becomes more localized and by that time it may be too late. Below are some pre-planning steps that your credit union can take to monitor and help minimize the impact of a pandemic outbreak.
- Center for Disease Control website
- World Health Organization
- Your Local Health Organization
- News channels (World and Local) via television, internet, radio, or print media
- Ensure critical business processes can be completed remotely and have been tested
- Remote work capability for persons completing the critical business processes
- Cross-train staff in each department to ensure business interruption will be limited or nonexistent
- Plan for extended employee absences
- Remind staff of proper hygiene (hand washing, cough and sneeze into elbow, etc)
- Verify 3rd party vendors have a plan (you may be counting on them to step in and help with your business processes)
- Direct members to use other services to complete their banking needs. Sponsor flu shots and while advertising the flu shots encourage members to sign up for online banking. This can help them to avoid contact with possible sick members at branches.
These ideas are by no means all that needs to be done but can be used to get the process started. The ideas above can be used for the annual influenza outbreaks also.
Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”