Preparing For Unprecedented Times

PSCU - Black Swan

“As credit unions help their members manage through the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever for CUSOs like PSCU to partner with credit unions to help them and their members weather the storm of uncertainty,” PSCU EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tom Gandre told PYMNTS. Learn how CUs live the “people helping people” ethos in Black Swan, a special report exclusively from PYMNTS.

The following is an excerpt from Black Swan, contributed by PSCU EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tom Gandre.

Over the past two decades, we have experienced some significant “black swan” events that produced major impacts on the U.S. and global economies. The first was the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2000; the second was the 2008 financial crisis. These types of events are almost impossible to anticipate, as they are often random and unexpected.

As we deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with much uncertainty. As retailers, restaurants and other businesses close in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, we are already beginning to see the economic impact of this crisis. But how vast will it truly be? There is no immediate indication of how long this decline in demand will exist.

While organizations cannot predict or fully prepare for a black swan event, there are steps that can be taken to help minimize the impact.

Business Continuity Is Key

Through our experience with previous black swan events and other crises, we know that a comprehensive business continuity plan should be developed and continuously evolved. This is imperative to mitigating impact.

In response to the pandemic, we activated both our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and Pandemic Response Plan (PRP), and we continue to take proactive steps in accordance with the procedures outlined in each, quickly adapting them to support an ever-changing environment.

Given PSCU’s experience in dealing with emergency situations like hurricanes and other natural disasters, we are well-equipped to support our credit unions in a remote capacity. PSCU’s IT infrastructure is fully redundant, and we can effectively operate our contact centers remotely, switching back and forth as needed between our six major locations. In crisis situations like these, it is important to know in advance which employees are capable of working remotely and to verify that their systems can handle typical volume.

Solid Foundation of Support

While we are experiencing an uncharted global pandemic, we recognize that our connected ecosystem will be significantly affected, undoubtedly reshaping many aspects of how businesses function — even though experts believe the financial system is stronger now than during the last financial crisis in 2008.

With strong data and analytics capabilities, PSCU is equipped with the tools to forecast impacts and help our credit unions to plan ahead as much as possible. When it comes to cybersecurity and fraud protection, it is critical to have monitoring tools in place to manage both internal and external fraud detection. This includes machine learning (ML) tools, a clean desk policy (CDP) and monitoring of employees for the protection of member data. PSCU has built a robust and resilient cyber and fraud foundation to support our credit unions and their members.

Additionally, having policies and business continuity plans for key partners is imperative, as is assessing key vendors that may be located in high-risk areas to ensure the availability of readily sourced alternatives. Our well-orchestrated vendor management program and strong supply chain provide our credit unions with confidence in our ability to serve them in their greatest times of need.

As a credit union service organization (CUSO), PSCU is committed to the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” — a commitment made even more important when black swan events occur. As credit unions help their members manage through the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever for CUSOs like PSCU to partner with credit unions to help them and their members weather the storm of uncertainty.

Read more executives' insights on the COVID-19 crisis in Black Swan.



The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.