Coronavirus Pandemic Readiness Overview

Ensuring critical business functions are operational and able to fully support credit unions and member borrowers during the Coronavirus pandemic is of the utmost importance for Credit Union Student Choice. We have a robust Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place and are adhering to it as we progress through this evolving situation. As potential business disruptions emerge, specific challenges may arise that require adaptive decisions to be made. Rest assured that our Executive and BCP teams remain highly engaged in order to produce the best possible outcomes for our employees, clients, member/customers, and key vendor partners. The information below provides additional details related to our preparedness and recent actions. 

 

Student Choice Operations

Under normal circumstances, approximately 90% of Student Choice staff members work remotely. As of Friday March 13th, we have increased that to 100%, thus eliminating the need for any employee to report to a physical office while still maintaining 100% capacity. Our staff operates via the internet in a secure technology environment using CUSO-provided hardware and software that is remotely configured and monitored. This includes computer and IP phone systems, as well as cloud-based workflow platforms that are only accessible by corporate VPN and/or multi-factor authentication. We have also educated staff on preparedness and health monitoring protocols for their personal safety and will continue to provide ongoing updates.

 

Key Business Partners

In reviewing the activity of both Student Choice and our key business partners, it’s important to remember that we do not interact with credit union members face to face – all activity is conducted online or via call center. Accordingly, our main focus is to ensure that partner staff members are able to deliver services remotely as BCP plans will likely shift staff to remote working environments. Presently, our origination, servicing, call center, and collection partners are all operating within their BCP plans. While there has been no disruption thus far, we have received confirmation from each partner that they are fully engaged while continuing preparations should the situation become more impactful. Specifically, accommodations are being made to enable additional remote working structures, formation of Pandemic Response Teams, and alternative work schedules in order to reduce employee concentration for those required to be in a physical office. We continue to monitor specific operational areas and SLAs and do not expect any performance degradation at this time.

 

Critical Business Functions

While all functions are currently unaffected, specific risk mitigants exist for critical areas.

 

  • Loan Application: fully electronic, follows basic system availability metrics.
  • Loan Processing: remote staff, alternate schedules, 3rd party contract resources.
  • Certification:  remote staff, alternate schedules, 3rd party contract resources.
  • Disbursement: remote staff, alternate schedules, 3rd party contract resources.
  • Borrower Contact Centers (including pre-application, loan origination, servicing, collections): multiple locations exist within each partner operation. A majority of borrower calls can be handled by alternative entities within our ecosystem when necessary.
  • Benefit Processing: remote staff, cross-trained staff.
  • Servicing Correspondence: primarily automated, follows basic system availability metrics.
  • Payment Processing: primarily online and automated, remote staff, cross-trained staff for exception and manual processing.
  • Accounting: remote staff, cross-trained staff including parent company resources.
  • Collections: remote staff, alternate office locations and schedules, 3rd party contract resources.

 

Member/Borrower Flexibility

Student Choice is committed to providing flexible assistance to members who are experiencing hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In coordination with our partners, we are prepared to offer a three-month forbearance for those members self-certifying their hardship. We have actively contacted each of our credit union partners to seek approval for using this key benefit. In addition, we have also developed key talking points with each of our call centers to ensure consistent messaging and clear communication to members regarding options available to them.

 

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your Strategic Partner Representative or cuscoperations@studentchoice.org. Thank you for your partnership and rest assured that Student Choice stands ready to assist our credit union partners and member borrowers during this challenging time.

 

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