Revisit CU Emergency Preparedness Plans

Board-approved business continuity plans must be tested annually.

September 24, 2010

With an active hurricane season well underway, it's a good reminder for boards and credit unions to revisit business continuity and disaster preparedness plans, according to the Credit Union Directors Newsletter.

Directors NewsletterThe Ready Campaign, launched by the Department of Homeland Security and the Advertising Council, suggests:

  • Be informed about the kinds of emergencies that might affect your credit union;
  • Carefully assess how your credit union functions, internally and externally;
  • Evaluate emergency plans for employees ahead of time.
  • Think first about the survival basics: fresh water, food, clean air, and warmth.
  • Plan for shelter relief at your credit union, or an evacuation site.
  • Prepare for fire safety, the most common of all business disasters.
  • Take steps that give you the upper hand in responding to medical emergencies. This includes encouraging employees to take first aid and CPR training, and to discuss ahead of time their medical conditions.
  • Ensure your plans include influenza response procedures.

Business continuity planning involves the development of an enterprise-wide plan and prioritizing business objectives and critical operations that are essential for recovery, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), an interagency body that includes the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Credit unions should consider how every critical process, business unit, department, and system will respond to disruptions and which recovery solutions to implement, FFIEC points out.

NCUA recommends that all credit unions have a business continuity plan, with board oversight and approval. It should feature:

  • A business impact analysis to evaluate potential threats;
  • A risk assessment to determine critical systems and necessary resources;
  • A written plan addressing who has authority to enact the plan, how the credit union will preserve and restore vital records, how it will provide vital services, how it will communicate with members and regulators, and the training methods it will use.
  • The internal controls the credit union will enact to monitor the plan at least annually; and
  • Annual testing.

The business continuity planning process actually represents a continuous cycle that should incorporate changes in potential threats, business operations, audit recommendations, and test results, FFIEC says.

Adapted from the September issue of Credit Union Directors Newsletter.