Disaster Lessons Acquired the Hard Way
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- When Hurricane Rita blasted Texas, FivePoint Federal Credit Union in Port Arthur took a hit.
At the Education Credit Union Council annual conference, FivePoint Executive Vice President Kenneth Miller shared the good, the bad and the ugly--lessons the credit union learned from that experience.
First, Miller listed what the credit union did right:
o Had a disaster recovery plan that addressed mission critical systems.
o Put critical vendors on alert.
o Reviewed the plan with all employees prior to evacuation.
o Was a member of the Shared Branch Network
o Had ATMs in stand-in mode.
o Updated the Web site daily on the status of the credit union.
o Had financial systems on-line within 32 hours, and telephone teller and home banking within 40 hours.
o Opened a mobile credit union five days after the hurricane.
o Opened a local branch eight days after Rita hit.
Then he noted what the credit union had not planned for:
o The enormity of the human factor, with homes destroyed, schools and day care providers closed, and employees struggling to assist elderly parents.
o Being out of corporate headquarters for more than a year.
o The effort needed to place returned workers.
o No electricity for more than three weeks.
o The planned evacuation route being in Rita's path.
o Key employees locked in traffic.
o Lack of diesel fuel for generators.
o Recovery vendors faced with multiple disaster declarations.
o Land-based communications inoperable in safe areas.
Finally he outlined steps the credit union has taken in response to that experience:
o Switched to a core processor for disaster recovery of the in-house financial system.
o Established a co-located data center for mission critical servers and applications.
o Established a mobile credit union office.
o Arranged for satellite communications.
o Purchased generators that can operate on diesel or natural gas.
o Conducted table-top exercises.
o Established a central location for key employees.
o Signed an agreement for temporary building facilities.
o Increased insurance coverage. --firstname.lastname@example.org