Even if CUs stay dry, flood-affected members need a hand: Agility

May 27, 2015

HOUSTON (5/27/15)--Flooding has washed out large chunks of Oklahoma and Texas, swamping roads, devouring homes and swallowing nearly everything in its path.

While no reports have surfaced that credit unions have been greatly affected, Paul Sullivan, vice president/general manager of Agility Recovery, says it’s no time for credit unions to become complacent, as members may need their help.

“A lot of smaller communities are being affected and that’s where credit unions come into play,” Sullivan told News Now Tuesday. Agility Recovery is a CUNA Strategic Services strategic alliance provider.

“While we talk about reaching out to employees and critical vendors and suppliers (in the event of an emergency), talk to members, find out if any members have been affected,” Sullivan said. “Use your website, social media, outgoing voicemail and email to reach out to the community to say, ‘We’re here to help, let us know how we can assist you.’”

Of course, the best way for credit unions to help their members is to be prepared so that their services are available when needed most.

To help credit unions grapple with flood events, Agility has compiled a checklist that spells out the steps they can take to prepare, including to:

  • Execute a crisis communication strategy. Proactively reach out to employees, in addition to any members and critical vendors/suppliers;
  • Make sure the office is ready to answer the phones. If needed, forward phone lines to mobile devices or employee home phones;
  • Have realistic expectations on the length of time it will take to recover;
  • Set up adequate information technology support for dispersed staff who may need help accessing technology remotely;
  • Set and execute scheduled updates, both for staff and for members so everyone understands the expectation for work and the availability of branches as the event unfolds;
  • Contact insurance providers and conduct as thorough of an “impact assessment” as you can considering the conditions. Take as many pictures as possible. Sullivan also said contacting an insurance provider is one of the most important steps to take to prepare for a flood event;
  • Ensure the status of branches is posted on websites, on social media accounts, and via outgoing voicemail greetings;
  • Prioritize recovery actions according to which business operations are most critical; and
  • Inquire about possible government assistance for recovery, including Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans.