The financial sector became well prepared to address a pandemic during 2007 when the Avian flu was a topic. Exercises were held that showed that while there would be significant impacts, the financial sector overall was able to continue to operate and cope with the impacts. Reviewing the material developed in 2007 reveals those preparation plans remain valid today1.
While the Avian flu reached the level of a pandemic according to CDC, the Coronavirus might not. However, now is good time to review that 2007 material and update your own preparedness plans. While traditional disasters normally have limited time durations, pandemics generally occur in multiple waves, each lasting two to three months. Experts predict the most significant challenge from a severe pandemic will likely be staffing shortages due to absenteeism.
The effects of a pandemic will be broad, and we must ensure continuation of essential financial services. You very likely planned for a pandemic more than a decade ago and have addressed the threat as part of your business continuity plan. Now is a good time to review and update your pandemic plan and remember that business continuity plans should address the threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak and its potential impact on the delivery of critical financial services. The 2007 Interagency Pandemic Guidance contains helpful information as much of it is still relevant.
In communication with concerned customers, you can highlight the following:
• The financial sector became well prepared to address a pandemic during 2007 when the Avian flu was a topic.
• Public/Private Sector Exercises were held that showed that while there would be significant impacts, the financial sector overall was able to continue to operate and cope with the impacts.
If you change or adjust your hours due to an emergency epidemic, please notify our Department to ensure open communication lines and compliance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, the Department allows individuals to work remotely without notification or branch licensure as long as the location is not held open to the public as a place of business. We simply ask that you follow best business practices for operating during the current crisis and please keep us apprised of any issues that may negatively affect North Dakota consumers.
• ND Dept. of Health: https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus
• ND Governor Doug Burgum/ND Dept. of Health March 3, 2020, Press Conference: https://www.health.nd.gov/news/nddoh-covid-19-press-conference-governor-doug-burgum
• CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• World Health Organization https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
• Interagency Advisory on Influenza Pandemic Preparedness issued on March 15, 2006 https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2006/fil06025.html
1 Refer to the After Action Report from 2007 FBIIC/FSSCC Pandemic Exercise.