“Do ya’ll have any fresh water at the credit union?”
Not a normal question for a collection call center specialist, but these are not normal times in Texas and Louisiana. As the waters continued to rise, CU*SOUTH worked to add more support specialists to their call centers, while working with the management teams of 15 credit unions from Corpus Christi to New Orleans to coordinate communication with members.
“We perform disaster recovery drills 3 times a year,” says Derrick Smith, COO of CU*SOUTH. “And still, we learn something new every time a real disaster strikes. Our recovery drills focus primarily on data processing – making sure members’ financial records are secure and accessible 24×7 through the cloud. That part was perfect – so then we focused on the individual member support.”
“Communication is key, and planning that communication needs to happen before a disaster strikes,” says CEO Leo Vaulin. “We work with credit unions to develop contingency messaging for websites and Facebook posts… if this happens, here’s what you can do. We pre-plan the messages with CU management, so when the actual event occurs, we already know what to post.”
Not all credit unions are members of a national shared branching network, so CU*SOUTH provides an easy alternative. “We work with credit unions to build ad-hoc networks of mutual support,” notes Mr. Smith. “Our core software platform, CU*BASE®, makes it possible for Credit Union “A” to serve the members of Credit Union “B” – all they need is an agreement based on rules of engagement: ‘here’s how we’ll identify your member’s identity, here’s what we will do for them, and here’s the cost that we might pass along;’ although we don’t see much talk about cost in situations like this.”
This idea of sharing services through the network is built into the design of the CU*SOUTH CUSO. “We connect credit unions with each other, and we provide support services like back office, compliance, collections, consulting, IT – all based on a gig economy model of fractional employment,” says Mr. Vaulin. “In a disaster scenario, credit unions can activate us to support them with minimal notice – so CU employees can focus on their families and their communities, knowing that the work is getting done, and that their credit union will be in good shape when they are able to return.”
“Now, we’re working with credit unions in the US Virgin Islands as Hurricane Irma approaches,” says Mr. Smith. “We’ve activated our Event Response Team (“ERT”) for St. Thomas and St. Croix, and are working with management teams to pre-plan the contingency responses. We’re continuing to add to our call center, and building out ad-hoc network shared branching with credit unions in Florida to support evacuees from the islands. We’re asking credit unions to share their loan delinquency plans and hurricane loan programs. And, yes, we’re telling credit unions to stock up on plenty of fresh water! It’s a great sign that members consider their credit union as a community resource!”
About the Partner
CU*South is a credit union-owned cooperative focused on building a network of successful credit unions. CU*South offers a wide variety of services including its flagship CU*BASE processing system offered in both online (ASP) and in-house processing environments, and Internet development services featuring It's Me 247 online banking product, and It’s Me 247 Mobile Web Banking – free for CU*BASE clients. As a partner of the cuasterisk.com network, CU*South provides the most comprehensive offering of information technology tools and services through a collaborative, shared ownership model, with the same great value credit unions offer members.
Representing a network of credit union owned CUSOs that have developed a capability for serving members in a whole new way, cuasterisk.com leverages the power and effectiveness of a collaborative network of business partners committed to coming together to provide credit unions a variety of popular services at competitive CUSO prices. The footprint of this network reaches over 600 credit unions nationwide and is designed to provide credit unions the opportunity to roll out new services faster to market and at a lower cost.