Municipal CU Vows Amends After Sandy Snafus
To understand what the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy can do to a credit union look no further than the $1.8 billion Municipal Credit Union. In the difficult days following the super storm, MCU members became increasingly frustrated and furious, sharply criticizing the New York credit union for what they said were serious lapses and missteps in its disaster recovery efforts.
While Hurricane Sandy had a major impact on many credit union operations throughout New York’s tri-state area, knocking out power to millions and leaving behind widespread devastation, disaster recovery experts said the MCU experience is a case study that highlights major lessons that credit unions should learn from and avoid.
“My direct deposit is late by three days,” commented Cannon56. “This is unacceptable by MCU!” A comment like this from members is why disaster recovery experts say blaming a problem on someone or something else doesn’t work. The No. 1 rule of a good crisis management is to acknowledge the issue quickly, tell members what the credit union is doing to fix it and provide as much information as possible.
“I think the credit union members probably didn’t have all the information, but they are also probably right to be upset. In my opinion, the credit union really missed an opportunity here to shine for their membership,” said Kirk Drake, president/CEO of Ongoing Operations. “Good crisis management processes can really help credit unions communicate proactively and honestly with members, resulting in building trust and brand value. In general, blaming anyone in a disaster probably won’t really help the situation and will do more harm than good.”
“In the future, we will have two, if not three, providers so that the backup is on a different system and we will have alternatives for customer service lines and data communications. We are already working on this.”
When 9/11 devastated lower Manhattan–the business and government center of New York City where MCU has its headquarters–many businesses decided to move their disaster recovery hot sites hundreds of miles away.