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The ongoing threat of terrorism, the impact of last year’s hurricane season, and the pending avian flu pandemic have once again turned the attention of the public, the regulators, and managers nationwide toward Business Continuity Planning (BCP). This intensified focus directs leaders throughout every industry to review their situations and begin making progress toward a level of preparedness that will protect their critical people, products, and systems from the effects of unforeseen events regardless of their catastrophic severity. BCP describes an integrated strategy that spans entire organizations in order to ensure the resiliency of its business operations in the wake of a disruption.

The BCP process is made up of several concepts that may or may not be within any particular credit union’s scope of available resources. Depending on staff expertise, the presence of various technological systems, and the time required to build an adequate level of knowledge regarding industry best practices and regulations, the entire BCP concept may be well beyond the resource limitations of most credit unions. As credit unions begin to work through developing, testing, and maintaining their business continuity plans, seeking the guidance and assistance of external resources can dramatically improve the overall process. Various regulatory publications, industry associations, workgroup recovery location providers, and consulting firms are able to provide invaluable expertise through the assistance they can provide. In the wake of a disaster, having established contractual relationships with outside service providers will help every credit union in their recovery effort by expanding the intellectual and physical assets at the disposal of the management team.

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