Being a credit union auditor can be pretty straightforward. Balance risk, enhance reporting, and optimize performance. But COVID-19 threw a wrench in the standard.

 

There is a whole new way of performing and operating with social distancing and digital overhauls. Even interacting with members is different. The mid- and post-pandemic world requires altered performance and job duty expectations.

In some ways, the COVID pandemic has pushed us into a better way of doing business. But there are also new trials for our members, such as financial instability and fraud. As an auditor, it’s your job to shed light on these risks and be a leader, which means being informed and progressive today more than ever.

Top Down Attitude

Let’s be honest—change is hard, even when it’s for the better. Employees at your credit union are looking to their leaders to set the pace and clearly define their new roles and procedures.

Members are getting emails of reassurance from your facility. Your credit union is doing its best to make members feel secure.

As an auditor, you have to know what those emails say and how to deliver on the promises being made. You must make sure protocols are in place when a member takes you up on skipping a month of loan repayment. You need the paperwork on hand and the procedure down for granting PPP loans to small businesses.

When it’s time to run your next audit, undoubtably there will be curveballs from the last few months. But keep up to date on member emails and expectations so you're ready for the challenge.

Tough Times for Members

The unemployment rate has skyrocketed. Stimulus checks are being auto-deposited. There are loan defaults and inactive accounts. Members are coming to you with a lot of questions.

Most credit unions are increasing their email presence with members while the pandemic changes communications strategies. Offering reassurance and guidance during times of struggle are a vital component of your member relationships. 

Unfortunately, the uncertainty has created more openings for scam and fraud. With all the unfamiliar checks, notifications, and offers your members get now, scammers are a lot more likely to blend in. 

It’s important for your credit unions to educate members about potential risks. You want them to be informed about how to protect their assets.

Take the uncertainty of financial security as an opportunity to build trust. As an auditor, stay up to date on those security threats and know the warning signs. Make sure the credit union lets its members know they’re keeping an eye out for anything fishy. 

Keep Up with Tech Trends

There was one major challenge we saw coming. When quarantine measures started taking effect, going remote was the obvious solution, if not the only one.

The digital age was already well on its way to reforming credit unions all over. This pandemic has definitely expedited the process.

While there are inconveniences to remote work, there are upsides too.

First, employees aren’t commuting to the branch or out of town for meetings, thereby cutting your overall carbon footprint.

Second, by cutting out the need for coordinated travel, employees across departments and branches are more easily accessible for meetings.

Third, going virtual is the trajectory for every industry. Some of the changes in regular operations will be here to stay. Identifying and correcting mistakes is your game as an auditor. Your associates are relying on you to help them maximize efficacy in their new roles.

audit checklist

FREE: Audit Checklist for Credit Unions

4 key principles and 13 questions to jumpstart your audit planning. From leading credit unions.

Final Thoughts

As an auditor, you are acutely aware of the ways COVID-19 has affected upon credit union operations. Trends are quickly changing, and you have to be in the know sooner (and more intimately) than anyone else.

Sporting a positive attitude, having empathy for members, and staying up to date on fintech is vital to surviving and thriving from here on out.

Want an easy way to prepare for your next audit? Try our credit union audit checklist.

If you’re interested in learning more about how COVID-19 has affected auditing, check out our related content here:

UPDATES ON CREDIT UNION AUDITS AND EXAMS DURING COVID-19

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