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The logistical, technological, and societal impacts of COVID-19 have changed the way all industries do business. Look no further than the social distancing measures that have been established across the nation and the world, and one can see the profound changes that have occurred to the modern world. Now more than ever, credit unions recognize the importance of multiple communication channels for members, remote working capabilities for employees, and key strategic direction for its board.
GBQ has identified some best practices for credit unions when addressing key stakeholders during this time:
For Your Members
At the heart of any credit union, members rely on your services to get them through good times and bad. Recognizing that a good portion of your membership base has been impacted by COVID-19, communications of services and products for members should cross multiple channels, including through physical mail, e-mail, text, social media, and online banking platforms.
Many credit unions have extended promotions to their members to help them financially, including skip-a-pay promotions, waived fees, and emergency loan applications. Make sure these options are extended to members using actionable steps and make them as accessible as possible. Let your members know of your support and commitment to their community, and if possible, invite them to participate in ways they can spread their support.
For Your Employees
As the people keeping the credit union operational and flexible during these times, your employees should be aware of the efforts management is taking to ensure they will be safe in the workplace. Communication of the employee’s benefits, including sick leave and expected working hours, should be addressed to all employees.
As a team, identify the employees who can work from home and provide them the tools and capabilities needed to perform the job efficiently and securely. For employees who can perform their role in a remote working environment, make sure those new to the practice understand the basics. Are their hours the same as they were before? How and when should they communicate progress on tasks? What methods of communication are best for your team? These are all questions to address during a period of working from home.
Lastly, ensure your credit union has written procedures for core operational components of the credit union. This is in case a key employee is sick for an extended period of time and someone needs to take a temporary role. When structuring back-up plans for employee roles, be mindful of the key controls that have been put in place over significant processes to ensure segregation of duties and dual controls are still occurring.
For Your Board of Directors
Responsible board oversight is key in this unprecedented health crisis. The board of directors will undoubtedly have questions related to COVID-19 and the impact it will have on the day-to-day and long-term strategic initiatives of the credit union. Plan on discussing and formulating responses to the credit union’s business continuity plan, and attempt to assess the financial impacts that may occur during this time. Attempt to conduct monthly meetings and annual meetings leveraging remote conferencing software available to the credit union.
No matter your size or complexity, the GBQ team is here for your COVID-19 questions and concerns. Be sure to check out our COVID-19 resources and reach out to your trusted GBQ associates for additional guidance during this time.