COVID-19 Updates

covid19

COVID-19 UPDATES 

As we navigate these unprecedented and challenging times, the team at CO-OP are working to make sure you have what you need to serve your members and keep your credit union strong during this critically important time. You can find the most up-to-date COVID-19 related resources, communications and FAQs here.

Best Practices Guide

As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives and the lives of our members, CO-OP is working hard to making sure you have what you need to serve your members and keep your credit union strong. While the scope and long-term impact of this crisis remains to be seen, there are several options for your credit union to help maintain business continuity and continue serving the needs of your members. 

This guide is designed to give you some quick best practices and tips in the key areas of: ATM/Branch Access, Fraud Prevention, Financial Relief for Members, Digital Engagement, and Member Support.

CO-OP Spending Trends Reports

COVID-19 Client Communications

COVID-19 Cardholder Payment Assistance Resources

In an effort to provide options for cardholders who may be experiencing financial hardship at this time, we are pleased to offer the following solutions:

  • Cardholder Payment Relief Solutions at the Portfolio Level

    • We are offering three Cardholder Payments Relief Solutions, available to clients who opt in by April 10, 2020 for the May statement cycle of your cardholders.

      • Skip Payment: The Skip Payment service allows the cardholder to “skip” making the Minimum Payment Due (MPD) on their credit card account. When activated, the MPD amount will show “No Payment Amount Due” on the applicable cardholder statement(s).

      • Interest and Fee Relief: The Interest and Fee Relief service allows the cardholder to forgo any new interest and fees while this program is in effect. Normal Minimum Payment Due (MPD) will continue to calculate based on the current process but no new Interest or Fees will be assessed on the cardholder statement(s).

      • Fee Only Relief: The Fee Only Relief service allows your cardholder to forgo any new Cash Advance or Late and Returned Check Fees while this program is in effect. Normal Minimum Payment Due (MPD) will continue to calculate based on the current process but no new Fees as listed above will be assessed on the cardholder statement(s).

    • To get started, contact your Client Service Executive, or email us at clientcare@coop.org.

    • Requirements: This solution is available to Full-Service Credit processing clients only at this time.

  • Springboard Self-Service Options

    • There are a number of cardholder settings that you can put into action immediately via Springboard on an individual cardholder basis:

      • Deferred Payment – delay the Minimum Payment Due by one month

      • Temporary Credit Line Changes – increase a cardholder’s credit line for a specific timeframe

      • Stop Interest Accrual – prohibit fees and finance charges from posting to an account

      • Update Minimum Payment Due – quickly update Minimum Payment Due for an account

      • Hold Correspondence – temporarily stop the delivery of statements

      • Update Miscellaneous Fields – making it easier to track impacted accounts

      • Credit Bureau Reporting – update an individual cardholder’s credit bureau reporting

    • The Springboard functions are available on a self-service basis and can be implemented by your credit union today or at your convenience. For assistance, contact your Client Service Executive, or email us at clientcare@coop.org.

    • Requirements: This solution is available to Full-Service Credit processing clients only at this time.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

We have received a number of inquiries regarding CO-OP’s strategy to ensure business continuity surrounding the potential spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The information below will help to address several of the questions we know you may have. Please contact your CO-OP representative regarding any additional questions, and we will be happy to answer them promptly. 

*New question since last update

General

What plans is CO-OP making or has in progress to ensure business continuity in the event of the potential spread of COVID-19?

We continue to work with the urgency, purpose and focus required during this rapidly evolving situation. Additionally, we are working in alignment with our comprehensive Disaster Recovery and Pandemic Plan. To view a summary of our Business Continuity Plans please click here.

We are here to continue business, so that you may continue yours, ultimately ensuring your members are taken care of.  

What is CO-OP doing to safeguard its facilities for both employees and visitors?

Last week, in accordance with guidance provided by the CDC, we began implementing an orchestrated approach to social distancing in our facilities and migrating many employees to work remotely, with the goal of ensuring business continuity. With a large percentage of our employee base already set up to work in a remote capacity, this style of work is something we are all used to, enabling our teams to not miss a beat. However, we also maintain a population of site-based employees who continue to come to the office every day, many of whom are in our office in California. For these teams we have increased office cleaning each day and are managing physical workstations to allow for safe distances. We take the health and safety of our employees very seriously and continue to closely monitor the current health situation and federal, state and local guidance. 

CO-OP has offices across the country, and like you, we are considered an essential business, so the various municipal restrictions, including the order to Stay at Home from CA Governor Newsom, will not impact our operations.  

What technology and critical vendor redundancies does CO-OP have in place to maintain business operations?

CO-OP recognizes the criticality of its technology platforms to maintain business operations in the event of a significant disruption to the IT environment. The core financial servicing system platform is vendor hosted and has extensive failover capabilities to maintain continuous operations with little to no downtime.

Additionally, the CO-OP IT network and back-office systems are hosted both in CO-OP premises and in vendor provided colocation environments, with redundant equipment and connectivity to support local hardware failures and environmental/facility controls, including a building generator and other IT backup controls.

Is CO-OP restricting the travel of its employees?

Of primary importance to us is the health and safety of our employees, and we are closely monitoring and following guidelines outlined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization). While the CDC and State Department have not declared any travel restrictions within the United States, our management team felt it important to restrict non-critical business travel for our staff at this time. Clients might see and feel this as some meetings are being rescheduled to virtual or conference calls.

We do not expect these shifts to change our level of service, as our team’s focus on your business remains our top priority. Additionally, our client service team is happy to work with you to conduct in-person meetings and/or create virtual meetings where appropriate.

Is a summary of your Business Continuity Plan available?

Yes, a summary is available here.

This is a time we definitely do not want to be down or have any technical issues for both ATM and Debit. What does CO-OP have planned to ensure we remain resilient with these services?

CO-OP recognizes the criticality of its technology platforms to maintain business operations in the event of a significant disruption to the IT environment. The core financial servicing system platform is vendor hosted and has extensive failover capabilities to maintain continuous operations with little to no downtime.

Additionally, the CO-OP IT network and back-office systems are hosted both in CO-OP premises and in vendor provided colocation environments, with redundant equipment and connectivity to support local hardware failures and environmental/facility controls, including a building generator and other IT backup controls.

As CO-OP has offices spread across the country, as well as a large percentage of remote-based staff, we are confident in our ability to keep business continuity should regional outbreaks occur.

Are your staff available for trouble shooting and access for extended hours?

We are staffed 24/7 monitoring, responding, and escalating events as they arise at the same levels as before. Our preparedness is ensuring that our level of service will not be diminished.

Do you anticipate any supply chain disruptions that would negatively impact your ability to meet your obligations?

We do not anticipate any such disruptions. We are actively monitoring our key supply vendors, including our cleaning companies and our security guards. We are also increasing the supply of cleaning supplies we keep on hand.

If you host or process Client Credit Union or Credit Union member data or transactions; have any changes to your Cyber-security threat profile been made due to the coronavirus (e.g. allowing remote workers to use their own devices, etc.)?

We continue to maintain our normal cyber-security threat profile and data security standards. While we have an increased number of employees working remotely at this time, all are doing so in accordance with our existing data security standards.

During these trying times, the entire financial services industry needs to be more diligent in identifying scammers attempting to exploit COVID-19 via phishing and related attacks.

Is CO-OP making modifications or timing delays for dispute processing?

Not at this time. However, we are monitoring industry developments and may make adjustments to our dispute processing procedures if conditions warrant.

What could possibly lead to curtailing or closing operations, and what would the process be to do that? How much warning do you anticipate being able to give clients regarding such changes?

We do not foresee there being circumstances in the current environment that would lead to closing facilities or ceasing operations. We have been executing on our pandemic plan and adjusting it in light of the unprecedented environment to ensure we are able to continue to service our clients. Circumstances around COVID-19 have created larger call volumes in our contact centers, and there could be situations where service standards are impacted as we adjust to new patterns of member and client activity.

Can my staff access Springboard remotely if we have staff working from home?

Your staff can still access the Springboard application remotely as long as they are logged on to your credit union’s VPN. You should always follow best practices guidelines when handling sensitive information:

  1. The users accessing remotely are users authorized by the CU to work remotely
  2. The VPN traverses the same access path from the Credit Union as it would if they were in the office.
  3. The client's employees should be using PCs that are managed entirely by their company's controls and access the network with a secure VPN solution.
    a. An alternative would be some form of virtualization solution (VMWare, Citrix, etc.)
  4. The clients need to enforce strong, multi-factor authentication for remote network access.
  5. The CUs need to account for education, awareness, and secure telecommuting practices.
  6. Credit Unions should implement IP restrictions (such as limited geographic locations, approved times for IP’s to access) to their own networks to allow only approved IP addresses to access their systems.
  7. Credit Unions should work with CO-OP to implement the Springboard capability of limiting IP restrictions. This capability helps enforce that inbound traffic originates from the Credit Union’s company networks.
  8. Finally, Credit Unions should look at their own Information Security and Compliance guidelines to make the final decision.

There are reports that attackers are employing DDoS attacks during the pandemic. What protection does CO-OP have in place with regard to DDoS attacks?

CO-OP Financial Services uses a third party, monitored, DDoS protection service that covers our networks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The DDoS protection service is a carrier level service that enforces continuous traffic scrubbing prior to reaching any CO-OP system or service. In addition to our DDoS protections, CO-OP has an established incident response procedure in the event a DDoS event is identified. Through the combination of these protections, CO-OP is able to detect, prevent and respond to DDoS attacks as they occur to minimize disruption to services.

Does CO-OP have a role in obtaining and providing Business Continuity Plans (BCP) for the vendors that our credit unions contract via CO-OP – such as Ensenta and STAR?

Yes, our Vendor Risk Management team is monitoring the BCP activities of its network partners and critical vendors. While we are not providing their plans to our clients, we are happy to provide CO-OP’s BCP summary upon request.

Where can I learn more about the status of THINK 20?

Please visit https://co-opthink.org/covid-19-update/ for more information specific to THINK 20.

Because of the continued uncertainty of near-future travel and an unwavering focus on the health and safety of our credit union partners and staff, CO-OP has made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person THINK conference August 18-20 in Dallas. Instead, we will be shifting and expanding our remaining 2020 event calendar to produce a series of THINK virtual events designed around your credit union, your role, and your members’ most pressing needs. These events will be offered free of charge, with a full schedule to be announced in the coming weeks.

Be on the lookout for details coming your way soon on these expanded THINK opportunities! If you have questions, please email us at marketing@coop.org.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security ("CARES") Act, the U.S. Federal Government has begun delivering "Economic Impact Payments" to eligible Americans. These direct cash payments to individuals and families are for financial relief during the coronavirus pandemic, and are sometimes referred to as "stimulus checks." Are my members eligible, and when will their payment arrive?

Advise your members to contact the IRS. 

My members have questions about the amount of their payment. Who can help them? 

  • Advise members to visit the IRS website for information regarding eligibility, requesting, calculating and receiving payments.
  • Members can check status of your payment, payment type (direct deposit or paper check) and how to set up a direct deposit if available at the IRS Get My Payment website
  • Remind your members that your credit union will not have information on Economic Impact Payment eligibility, timing or distribution. These payments are decided and distributed solely by the IRS.

What can my members do to help protect against fraud? Take these steps. 

  • Check the IRS website for information about their payment status and account information. 
  • Make sure their contact information is accurate in your account. 
  • Set up security and account alerts. 
  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission's Coronavirus Scam Tips for tips on how to recognize potential scams and learn more about how to keep your accounts secure.

*Do you have a business continuity plan that includes a pandemic scenario, and have you activated it? If yes, when was the plan activated, and what is the level of impact to your business? (e.g., events/meetings cancelled, remote employees, travel bans, locations closed, etc.).

Yes, CO-OP has a business continuity plan, and yes we have activated it. CO-OP began to update its existing pandemic plan in late February 2020 based on the coronavirus situation in China and its potential U.S. impact. CO-OP began to execute on its pandemic plan in early March and has continued to evolve its response to the COVID-19 situation to the extent that an overwhelming majority of its employees are now (as of mid-April 2020) in a work from home status. CO-OP does not believe that clients have experienced any significant impacts to date as a result of the execution of its COVID-19 response activities.

*Do you anticipate, or have you already identified, any services that you provide to clients being impacted by COVID-19?

CO-OP has not identified and does not anticipate that we will identify any impact to services that we provide to clients as a result of COVID-19.

*If this pandemic continues, how will it impact the products or services we receive over the next 30, 60, and 90 days?

CO-OP has not identified and does not anticipate that we will identify any impact to services that we provide to clients as a result of COVID-19.

*If you received $0 new revenue, how long could your organization continue to provide these services?

We don’t foresee any scenario where CO-OP’s revenue would be $0. However, our board-approved liquidity policy requires the organization to have cash and cash equivalents on-hand sufficient to cover three months of operating expenses. We currently have cash, cash equivalents and other sources of cash and assets that would permit the organization to cover operating expenses for a far longer period.

*Are you sending similar COVID-19 questions to your suppliers/vendors to assess the risk to your supply chain?

CO-OP has requested that all critical vendors provide us with their BCP and Pandemic plans.

*Did you already have and are you following an established work-at-home policy? If not, how are you accounting for increased cybersecurity risk?

Prior to the worldwide COVID-19 event, CO-OP had a significant remote work force (WFH) and key controls around associated risks. CO-OP’s Information Security team has participated and reviewed the expansion of the WFH availability to a larger contingent of the workforce in response to the COVID-19 event. The expansion and response activities have been reviewed and confirmed to be in alignment with the company’s established information security standards by CO-OP’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

Contact Center

What is CO-OP doing to ensure the Contact Center remains available to client credit unions and their members?

We are currently implementing the technology to allow for enablement of Universal Agent, which among other things will allow us to load-balance call volume between our contact centers. We will be launching Universal Agent in the upcoming weeks and months, and this will be an integral part of our business staffing plans going forward.

Our Contact Center and workforce management teams are actively monitoring call center activity to help determine our long- and short-range staffing plans. As your business partner, we will work closely with you to account for any upcoming known changes in your business. Many credit unions utilize our centers for overflow calls when their own center cannot handle the volumes. Please keep us informed in the event things change.

Also, should your credit union need to close due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, please remind your members they have the power of CO-OP’s 30,000 ATMs from coast to coast and, for CO-OP Shared Branch participants, a network of 5,710 shared branch locations to meet their banking needs.

Can CO-OP take all our calls if our credit union closes due to the pandemic?

There is increased interest in engaging our Contact Centers at this time. In addition to our normal business, many clients utilize our centers as a mechanism to provide support when volumes are in excess of what they are staffed to handle. As you can imagine, at this time we are providing support for more of this volume than normal. In some cases, this is resulting in higher than normal call waits. Please know that we are continually assessing staffing and service levels to ensure we are in a position to provide the best service possible.

If you have a need to send more volume to us than normal, we ask that you please send an email VOC@coop.org and we will assess your request to determine feasibility.

If you have any questions regarding CO-OP Contact Center overall, please reach out to VOC@coop.org. We will address any questions as soon as the information is available and provide overall updates, as needed.

Shared Branch

How can I notify you if our branch locations close or adjust their hours?

To ensure members have the most accurate information about Shared Branch locations nationwide, we would like to ensure the Shared Branch locator remains updated as this will be a vital resource for the network and consumers. Please notify CO-OP immediately of any changes to your credit union’s Shared Branch servicing and operations, including branch/lobby closures, amended operating hours, and drive-thru services.

We ask that all credit unions follow the below process to communicate any changes with CO-OP.

Report any changes to CO-OP via email at: csbinstalls@coop.org
Be sure to clearly specify the change (i.e., temporary branch closure, amended hours, limited service to drive-thru only, etc.) within your email.

Please Note:

  • Changes in branch hours will appear on the Shared Branch Website and Mobile locator.

  • Changes in service where the Shared Branch service/location remains open will be noted on the website locator; however, the notice cannot be displayed on the mobile locator app.

Updates/Messages will also be included on any locator API data calls. Some providers may not display the field. Each credit union should work with their provider if they desire to display the updates/messages. If assistance is needed with the API the credit union or their vendor may contact CO-OP Client Care at clientcare@coop.org and 1-800-782-9042, Option 3.

  • If a branch is closed, or Shared Branch service is suspended, the location will be temporally removed from the locator. The location will no longer appear on the website locator or the mobile locator.

Once service is restored, please notify CO-OP via email at: csbinstalls@coop.org and the location will be added back to the locator.

Who can I contact with additional questions?

Please reach out to your CO-OP representative.

SUBMIT A QUESTION

 

Additional Resources

CO-OP Business Continuity Program Overview 2020 A Special COVID-19 Message from our President & CEO COVID-19 FAQs