ALEXANDRIA, Va.-On the eve of Independence Day, NCUA issued a Letter to Credit Unions (02-CU-12) emphasizing the importance of physical security at the nation's credit unions. The letter said it was very important "not to lose sight of physical security considerations" in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The agency noted that robberies have more than doubled over the last 10 years and that 510 credit unions were robbed in 2001. In a robbery, financial loss is one consideration but so is the potential for personal injury, NCUA pointed out. "This possibility underscores the importance of a well-structured, effectively-operating security program." NCUA's letter reminded that compliance with Part 748 was crucial and that each federally-insured credit union must have a written security program and should review it at least annually. The chairperson is required to certify the credit union's compliance with this rule. Security programs should include: *
procedures for opening and closing; *
procedures for safekeeping of all currency, negotiable securities and other valuables; *
initial and periodic training under program and proper conduct during and after a burglary, robbery, or larceny; *
procedures for selecting, testing, operating, and maintaining appropriate security devices; and *
procedures to assist in identifying robbers, including video surveillance, bait money, and/or chemical and electronic devices. Security devices and programs should be based on the institution's potential for risk. A security program consideration questionnaire is attached to the letter.