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Chartered in 1935 as Hughes Tool Company Employees Federal Credit Union, First Service Credit Union (FSCU) is a Houston-based credit union with a deep commitment to member service and professionalism. With ten locations around Harris County, FSCU has a large and convenient footprint for a $190M credit union. A key part of FSCU’s dedication to member service and employee professionalism is a strong emphasis on providing for the security of their members and staff – both at their large branch network and in all of their other channels. Essential to security and the operation of the credit union is the ongoing efforts of maintaining compliance with the complex and ever increasing array of state and federal regulations that govern credit union operations from A to Z. That is why FSCU has chosen to partner with Continuity Control™, the provider of an on-demand, Web-based software foundation for credit union controls that automates the regulatory compliance process.
In his position of Vice President of Compliance and Internal Audit, Sid Zahn heads the compliance efforts at First Service Credit Union. The credit union could hardly be in better hands – Zahn has been working in the credit union movement since he graduated from college in 1983. He has seen both sides of credit union compliance efforts having worked for credit unions in compliance positions for over 20 years, as well as for a leading vendor for 5 years: CUNA Mutual Insurance. From these years of experience, Zahn knows what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to helping credit unions remain compliant in an ever-changing regulatory atmosphere. He remarks that "it was obvious from the outset that partnering with Continuity Control would really help us get our critical compliance work done more efficiently and cost effectively."
In July 2009, the credit union experienced an armed robbery and afterwards was looking to enhance the security of its ten branches. The credit union’s CEO had called for a stem to stern review of FSCU’s security posture, so the timing was perfect for Zahn and his co-workers to start working with Continuity Control’s Control platform. He recalls that "I was working with our SVP of IT on a credit union-wide review of all aspects of our security and compliance policies and procedures. I was looking for a way to automate and more efficiently organize our control processes when I learned about Continuity Control. We needed to keep all of our security controls consistent from branch to branch. For example, keeping our alarm testing, bait money and other controls in place was complicated. It was perfect timing and with Continuity Control everything fell into place in a consistent manner. Working with Control has really helped get everyone on the same page at all of our locations."
FSCU’s IT Department was thrilled that Continuity Control runs as a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform since their busy schedules were not interrupted by hardware or software installation requirements. Zahn notes that "the browser interface is so simple to navigate that there is no real training involved in getting up and running, yet it still offers all kinds of powerful capabilities."
After simply inputting the e-mail addresses of various key employees such as branch managers, Zahn was able to easily and consistently distribute and track information on compliance items that need to be reviewed and updated at various intervals. According to Zahn, "our branch managers like Continuity Control because it really helps keep them organized, and I love it because it keeps everyone on the same page and moving forward with reminders of tasks that need to be completed." He adds that "this system makes it easy for everyone to work together as a team and we have all been happy with the quality of the software. Without Continuity Control to help us in regards to governance, compliance and risk management, it is far too easy for things to fall through the cracks."
The Control platform is comprised of numerous - and very affordable - APPs that cover a whole range of compliance, regulatory and risk management categories such as Accounting & Finance, Data Processing, Vendor Management, BSA, Human Resources, Information Technology, etc. APPs are designed to simplify the work of compliance and risk management by breaking it down into a set of simple steps called "ToDos", automating those steps and delivering all of the reporting to satisfy oversight needs.
Currently, FSCU is utilizing the Control Physical Security APP, and Zahn points out that "it works great and we are pleased with the level of service backing Continuity’s solutions. The friendly people at Continuity Control have just bent over backwards to help us at every step of the way." He concludes that "Continuity offers a wonderful solution that makes things easier and more efficient for every credit union, large or small. Labor savings, process management and automation are critical for every credit union and Continuity Control truly shines in this regard."