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Eight out of ten credit unions that assessed their business continuity plans during COVID-19 were unable to conduct critical functions remotely, according to a new PolicyWorks white paper.

That concerning finding and others, however, were based on a small number of credit unions that completed an assessment developed by the West Des Moines, Iowa-based compliance solutions firm PolicyWorks to help credit unions identify the gaps in their business continuity plans during the coronavirus crisis.

One-hundred and fifteen credit unions completed the 90-minute assessment, which represents about 2% of the more than 5,000 credit unions that are currently operating.

The assessments also found that 64% of credit unions said their staff did not have the ability to work from home, and that 44% did not contact their suppliers and vendors during COVID to ensure services would be maintained. What’s more, the assessments revealed that only 78% of credit unions reported having a documented BCP, even though the NCUA requires all credit unions to have a BCP.

PolicyWorks said it identified five opportunities to enhance credit union BCP that included recommendations on how to improve remote systems availability and how to help employees transition to a remote working environment. The other three recommendations offered insights about including vendors in a BCP, expanding plans for branch operations during a virus outbreak and how credit unions can test the effectiveness of their BCP.

“Just as COVID-19 shed light on the undeniable contributions credit unions make to their communities, the pandemic also brought attention to the vast chasm that exists between a basic BCP and best practice BCP,” the white paper concluded. “Whereas regulators ask credit unions to have basic plans for records retention and storage documents, mother nature (and the microbial webs she spins) have much greater demands.”

The white paper is available for free at the PolicyWorks site.