Tape, batteries and attaboys: A natural-disaster checklist for banks
The official start of hurricane season is June 1, and bankers are getting ready by replaying in their minds what worked and what didn’t last summer when storm systems slammed into Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.
One challenge is that storms have varying characteristics. Hurricanes Irma and Maria delivered crippling winds that destroyed buildings and cut off communication, while Hurricane Harvey brought with it severe flooding that ravaged houses and knocked scores of branches out of commission.
Hurricane responses are also varied. The severity and longevity of a storm will determine how quickly branches reopen — if they ever reopen at all. Employee availability and customers’ needs will also differ based on the damage unleashed on a particular market.
Having an emergency preparedness plan is necessary for dealing with the aftermath of a storm. At the same time, bankers must also have a backup plan for their backup plan.
American Banker recently hosted a panel of bankers — Bill Penney of Marine Bank & Trust, Beth Corum of Capital City Bank, Kyle Puchta of Regions Financial and Andy Lapierre of Frost Bank — who shared the lessons they learned from last year’s hurricane season.
Six of those follow. Applying these lessons could put banks in better shape to respond to storms and other types of disasters.