Is Your Credit Union Prepared for the Eclipse?

Your Association’s compliance team offers a checklist of important security and operational concerns to address before Aug. 21.

8/8/16

As the eclipse draws near, it is important that credit unions assess the impact the event will have on their operations. While the event itself will only last about 20 minutes, areas in and around the path of totality will experience a large influx of crowds in the days before and after the eclipse.

Some credit unions have chosen to close on the day of the eclipse, while others will remain open. Regardless of what your credit union chooses to do, following are some important security and operational concerns you should consider before Aug. 21.

Branch staff considerations:

  • Travel to and from work may be difficult. The I-5 corridor will be congested, as will areas around airports. In addition, areas around venues hosting events will be very busy, making travel difficult.
  • If your credit union will remain open, consider stocking up on food and water for the staff, as they might not be able to leave for lunch.
  • Due to traffic, consider having staff work at the branch location closest to their house.

Public considerations:

  • Do you let the public use your restrooms? If so, are you prepared for the influx of individuals that will need to use your restroom?
  • If you do not let the public use your restrooms, will you make an exception on the days surrounding the event?
  • Will you have water available to offer members or the public?
  • Can your branch staff recognize the signs of heatstroke/exhaustion?
  • Will you have enough cash on hand on to serve the needs of members and non-members? You could see an uptick in ATM and cash advance requests in the days surrounding the event.
  • Are you aware of the various events in your community? You might receive questions from the public regarding where to go.
  • Do you have a parking lot associated with your branch location(s)? Will you allow public parking? If you will not allow public parking, how will you enforce this?
  • Do you have public wifi? If so, consider locking it down for the day or password protecting it so only members can access it

Operational considerations:

  • If you will be ordering more cash/coin to have on hand, armored courier companies recommend starting to do so now. (Retain at centralized cash vault, if possible.)
  • If you will need extra cash/deliveries leading up to Aug. 21, it is best to start having those conversations with your armored courier now.
  • If you have businesses that rely on you for cash, know that their businesses will be impacted as well. Start the conversations with them now about how you can best prepare to serve their needs during the event and surrounding days.
  • Review credit union policies and procedures with staff so they are prepared for the busier lobbies. Important policies include cash advance, foreign currency, opening and closing procedures, robbery, and handling if the credit unions’ network becomes slow or unresponsive.
  • Activate your business continuity plan. There is a chance that communications channels will become unresponsive due to the large number of individuals using their cell phones.
  • Understand that even the best planning can result in employees not being able to make it to work on time. Have a plan in place in case staff cannot make it to the office.
  • In case of a communication shutdown, the credit union should have a plan in place concerning how to handle unanticipated questions (even if it is simply getting back to the individual at a later time).

Security considerations:

  • Emergency response could be delayed.
  • If allowing the public to use restrooms, the credit union will need to ensure all security concerns are addressed.
  • Credit unions will want to assess vault, ATM, and cash drawer limits.
  • Branch staff should be on alert for anyone that seems to not have a purpose in the branch. Follow your robbery prevention procedures.
  • Credit unions should also ensure they can follow their cash advance procedures. Since communications may be slow or down, credit unions should have a plan in place in case they are unable to obtain authorization.

Your local city or county website is a great place to start when assessing how your operations and security might be impacted in the days leading up to and following the event. Also, the state of Oregon is increasing its real-time updates to tripcheck.com, which can be used to check the status of travel routes around the state.

Credit unions are welcome to call the Association’s Compliance Hotline to discuss tips and concerns about the event at 800.546.4465, or compliance@nwcua.org