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New Whitepaper for Credit Unions Details Five Common Business Continuity Planning Gaps Exposed during COVID-19

August 30, 2020

September 1, 2020 – In April, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) firm ViClarity, began to analyze credit union business continuity plans (BCP), specifically whether they were adequately written for a global virus outbreak. The analysis was made possible by the more than 115 credit unions that participated in a BCP self-assessment tool that ViClarity developed and distributed via its GRC Management Software.

Today, ViClarity released the findings of its analysis in the white paper, “What COVID-19 Taught Us about Credit Union Business Continuity Plans.” The paper is available at no cost to credit union GRC professionals.

The paper’s authors, Ogie Sheehy, ViClarity global CIO, and Jeremy Smith, ViClarity director of client partnerships, approaches each of the BCP gaps revealed by the assessment as an opportunity: “The results of the self-assessment provided our team with exclusive, real-time insights into how the industry must improve to be ready for a second wave of COVID-19 – or any other business disruption around the corner.”

The five opportunities to enhance credit union BCPs, based on ViClarity BCP self-assessment analytics, include:

Plan for the total wellness of employees: Analytics from the assessments showed the social, environmental and psychological needs of employees were factors most BCPs neglected to address. The paper presents several strategies to help managers guide teams through the creation of comfortable workspaces, as well as address the social and psychological needs of employees isolated from each other during a crisis.

Plan for better remote systems availability: ViClarity found eight out of ten credit unions were not able to conduct critical functions remotely. Sheehy and Smith provide a list of items to include in a BCP to help credit union IT teams understand what the business has defined as successful disaster preparation.

Include vendors in BCP: Less than half (44 percent) of credit unions that participated in the self-assessment had contacted their critical suppliers and vendors during COVID-19 to ensure services would be maintained. ViClarity’s paper includes three strategies to help GRC leaders better plan for the continuity of what Sheehy and Smith call the “robust quilt of services” credit unions manage in today’s environment.

Expand plans for branch operations: This section of the paper explores the how-to’s of integrating COVID-19 lessons learned into a credit union’s branch BCP. The authors offer four practical strategies around preparing for pandemic-based circumstances, such as social distancing and business closure mandates.

Document and test often: In addition to formalizing a BCP by putting it down on paper, ViClarity experts say it’s a best practice for credit union leaders to read – and test – that paper on a regular basis. The BCP should account for this by outlining a series of procedures designed to keep the plan fresh and viable. The paper walks through three basic and one “extra credit” strategy for documenting and testing a BCP.

Credit union GRC leaders are encouraged to download the paper https://info.viclarityus.com/what-covid-taught-credit-unions-bcp.

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