Guest Blogger: Debbie Bergenske, Alliance Manager, CUNA Strategic Services
The credit union movement has a strong history of “people helping people.” When disasters strike, we’re there for each other and for the members we serve.
Since 2006, Agility Recovery has been one of CUNA Strategic Services’ carefully chosen providers, saving credit unions money and time by providing the products and services they need to compete in the modern financial marketplace and the disaster recovery and business continuity to keep them going.
Agility is all about saving businesses and communities, families, and lives. In other words, a core value is “people helping people,” which is a great fit for our industry’s values, goals and credit union needs. We believe so confidently in Agility that, not only do we promote their services to credit unions, we also have a contract with the company for our own disaster recovery needs.
A 20,000-Gallon Flood
Agility comes through even in the toughest, most unexpected situations. One example is a fluke event that happened to $324 million asset ASI Federal Credit Union, Harahan, La., in January 2011. When Kevin Burke, Vice President of IT and Security, went to work on a holiday Monday to check on some systems issues, he found a mess. Gazing through the glass doors, he discovered the entire first floor of his credit union’s headquarters office was flooded with two inches of water. A pipe had burst in one of the restrooms and had flooded the place during the weekend.
The next day, the lending department—located in the area with the most damage—moved into a break room until the credit union could clean up and assess the damage. This meant about 20 people were crowded into a small space.
A contractor hired to assess the damage estimated it would take about two months to clean up, make repairs, and have the first floor usable for business.
At this point, Kevin explained, “We thought we could spread the lending staff around to various branches during the clean-up and repair, but that wouldn’t be efficient or good for member service.”
A Speedy Response
So the credit union contacted Agility disaster recovery and business continuity, its disaster recovery provider, on Friday—four days after Kevin had discovered the flooding. He was surprised at how quickly the company responded. Within 24 hours, Agility personnel pulled into the parking lot, delivering a double-wide trailer and a generator.
By the next Monday afternoon, all needed equipment and desks were set up in the trailer, and on Tuesday, the loan department was fully functional and back in business.
“Agility offers a 48-hour promise of assistance, and they can do it,” said Kevin. Weekends aren’t an issue.
A Bargain for the Peace of Mind
Before this disaster, Kevin had considered Agility for replacement of equipment, computers, and so on—in cases of natural or manmade disasters. But never for a situation like this—delivering, in effect, office space. “I never thought of them from a temporary facilities perspective. But they came through for us,” he said.
Kevin shared that working with Agility was extremely easy and added that the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, accommodating and easy to work with.
ASI Federal, like other Agility members, pays a small monthly fee similar to insurance. “You might think, ‘Why are we paying this,’” Kevin described, “but you don’t see the benefit until you actually need it. It’s valuable just to have that comfort factor, so if a situation happens, and you’re not able to handle it at your business, Agility can help. You don’t have to scramble at the last minute.”
ASI Federal has a documented disaster recovery plan as a back-up scenario. But not everything works out exactly on script. Kevin went on to share that “If something doesn’t quite go as planned, we have Agility to back us up.”
A fluke event like this is simply one example of the importance of being prepared for disasters large and small. It cannot be underestimated. Preparedness is a core element of the credit union movement and Agility helps us make sure it happens.
To learn more about Agility, watch this short video clip – Disaster Recovery For Every Organization.