Hawaii First Federal Credit Union

Attainium’s BCP Development Workshop played a valuable role

Hawaii First Federal Credit Union serves members island-wide, with branches located in Kamuela, Waikoloa, and Hilo. Their motto of "Members First" is taken seriously by the credit union management and staff. "I just can sleep better at night knowing that we passed the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) audit with flying colors, and the business continuity plan is in place," said Laura Aguirre, president and CEO. "I know we can continue to serve our members in the event of a disaster."

[Editor’s note: NCUA audits of credit unions are mandated by law and ensure that the credit union is prepared in the event of a disaster, management has developed detailed contingency plans, tested the plan, and, most important, communicated the plan to everyone that could be affected.]

Before starting to work on Hawaii First’s business continuity plan, Aguirre attended a business continuity planning workshop conducted by Bob Mellinger, president and CEO of Gainesville, VA-based Attainium Corp. "The workshop drills really helped to expand everyone’s thinking about what could really happen and brought home the fact that we had to be ready for almost anything," Aguirre said. "My compliance officer and I were inspired and ready to roll after completing the workshop.

"We did have a disaster recovery plan in place that covered the basics and would ensure we were able to open for business," Aguirre said. "Attainium's workshop, however, made it clear that we needed to figure out each and every one of our key business processes and how long we could go without them, in order to craft a plan that addressed those processes.

"In addition, I came away from the session with an incredibly valuable template that gave us a start on an overwhelming task," Aguirre said. "It gave us the foundation on which to build the plan and made us think of every single thing so nothing was left out. We also had the ability to customize the plan to include some things not in the template."

According to Aguirre, another key item from the workshop was the importance of a communication system for employees. "We now have a line that all employees can use to call in so we know where everyone is and what the situation is in the various branches," she said. "Finally, it was clear that testing our plan was critical. When we did the test, it was so real because of the extensive planning and the testing went very well. We will be testing our plan every six months so we can keep it updated and ready.

"The audit looked at whether we covered everything, including staff readiness, and the NCUA examiners were impressed that our staff had all attended the training and had the staff handbook," said Aguirre. "The Attainium template gave us the ability to satisfy all of the audit requirements. We would have gotten the plan done somehow, but I don’t think it would have been as professional or as extensive as the plan we developed with the template."

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