The OGO Blog

Commonly Asked Questions on COVID-19 Effects For Credit Unions

credit union pandemic prepare

1. How do I know when I need to close one of my branches or locations?

This is a unique decision for each credit union that has to do with your resources available and the direction from your local municipality. We’ve seen some credit unions on the west coast move to appointment only structures. If you have drive-thrus, please consider if you are part of shared branching. Can you leverage other partners around you?

A few scenarios where you want to close branches are a quarantine situation or if your local government recommends branches close.

2. What are the types of remote access available?

Common types of remote access available are:

  • A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) (i.e. Citrix or VMWare)
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Services
  • Remoting into desktop computer through VPN connection
  • a pure remote solution with VPN access and allowing laptops to access resources through browser based applications over the VPN tunnel
  • LogMeIn Central (take a hard look at the security and associated risks)

Security needs to be thoughtfully examined with any remote access solution you are considering. Click here for VPN best practices. Click here for cybersecurity best practices.

3. What are some best practices for working from home?

Some best practices include:

  • setting a designated work space
  • keeping a schedule
  • reviewing security guidelines with employees and best practices
  • strong policies around PII (personal identifiable information)
  • strong policy on remote work (what employees can and cannot do)
  • strong Wi-Fi passwords
  • review what networks are appropriate to use
  • ensure you have available bandwidth at home so that you can complete work
  • only use corporate approved tools
  • management may schedule some virtual water cooler breaks, happy hours, etc. to keep team morale and communication up.

4. Any other suggestions for splitting up large groups of employees such as a call center? Besides moving call center employees around within building for social distancing and cancelling events anything else we need to be thinking of?

A best practice, if available, is to use an alternate site or another building to split up your call center. This ensures that if one site becomes infected, you will likely still have staff on site to maintain conducting business and taking calls. You can also split people up amongst different floors as a way to achieve social distancing. If you have extra locations, split your people up so that not everyone is affected if something happens.

5. If a staff member is confirmed positive, how do you react?

If someone is confirmed positive, first and foremost contact the local health authority and follow the guidance that they give. The CDC provides clear guidance on what to do in this scenario around sanitizing and cleaning branches. Visit the CDC website for specifics on cleaning.

From a business continuity perspective, follow the following steps.

 

Please review our guide on how to react if someone is suspected infected from a BCP perspective. Click here for the full guide.

6. In preparation for employees to work remotely, we are running into a shortage of laptops to purchase. Have you noticed this with other organizations as well?

This is a universal challenge at this time and an inventory issue. We have heard of some credit unions going to stores such as Best Buy to purchase. Other credit unions are re configuring work station desktops in order for employees to take home. If you do this, please ensure they are encrypted. Some credit unions are making the choice to reconfigure desktops before letting people use their own devices. BYOD (bring your own device) creates several challenges such as:

  • Not being in control of the devices from a security perspective - we don’t have security tools
  • The inability to ensure the machine is properly patched
  • How do you monitor for malware software, etc.

Many security concerns arise with BYOD.

7. How are Credit Unions handling new cleaning requirements?

Cleaning companies should be following CDC guidelines on how to clean/sanitize. The CDC website provides more information on this.

At a school, daycare center, office, or other facility that does not house people overnight:

It is recommended to close off areas used by the ill persons and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.

Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

Best practice: Be in contact with the cleaning service that cleans your branches, offices, etc. Ensure that the cleaners are following CDC guidelines and using proper products.

8. Have there been any NCUA guidance updates?

Specific guidance was given out on 3/16 from the NCUA. This guideline provides suggestions for prudent changes to items such as increasing cash limits, changing the duration on loans, skip-a-pay products, etc. The key message is to try and get in front of delinquency and provide options to your members

Please see more information here for specifics: https://www.ncua.gov/regulation-supervision/letters-credit-unions-other-guidance/ncua-actions-related-covid-19