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Prime Financial Credit Union’s Robbery Crisis Management Strategy

Submitted by: Stephanie Koenig, Amy Seipp, Michael Hill, John Holmes Jr., & Charles Tate

Crisis management is a complex process that requires competencies of individuals throughout and beyond the organization. When asked about their preparedness in the event of a crisis, banks will often point to plans prepared by operations officers, data processing managers and human resources supervisors. In the case of an uneventfully unplanned bank robbery at your local federal bank, being able to react quickly, efficiently and in an organized manner may result in defusing an unpleasant situation quickly, or at least in mitigating the overall adverse publicity received by your organization. If you are not organized and not cognizant that a crisis will arise at your institution, then your first reaction will be to panic. Banks and thrifts are tested in the marketplace by adverse circumstances. Those institutions with crisis management task forces in place can react in a manner that will mitigate the adverse circumstances facing the organization.
Potential Crises
Bank robberies are relatively uncommon: only about 2 of every 100 robberies are of a bank. Although violence is rare, employees and customers are at some risk of injury. If nothing else, being victimized can be terrifying. In addition, bank robberies can invoke fear in the community at large, as most are well-covered by the media. The Bank Protection Act requires that all employees and officers be trained annually on proper procedures for robberies, larcenies and burglaries. Most financial institutions will train their tellers but fail to recognize the importance of training all employees and officers regarding their responsibilities under the protection act. Unfortunately, this lack of training has resulted in some very dangerous actions taken by employees. When a robbery or other traumatic event occurs in your workplace, you can turn chaos into order by coordinating an appropriate and compassionate response to the situation. Here are steps you can take to support your employees and help them cope. When a robbery or other traumatic event occurs in your workplace, you can turn chaos into order by coordinating an appropriate and compassionate response to the situation. Understanding the factors that contribute to your problem will help frame local analysis, determine good effectiveness measures, recognize key intervention points, and select appropriate responses. Increases in bank robberies can largely be explained by three factors: 1. More bank outlets and extended hours increase opportunities for robberies. 2. Banks remain the most lucrative of all robbery targets; moreover, 80 percent of stolen money is never recovered. 3. Bank robberies are usually fast, low risk crimes, because employees are trained to comply with a robber’s demands. Moreover, although the risk of arrest is high, much of this risk is short term, and risk as reflected by clearances has declined over time.
All robbery communication will be sent through the Chief Compliance Officer, Cheri Class. Under the Bank Protection Act the CCO will be responsible for the following: 1. Ensuring all branches have working video cameras, alarm systems, security signage, and height markers on every major entrance. 2. Ensuring all new hires have received robbery training before entering the branches. 3. Ensuring all employees receive annual robbery training. 4. Ensuring all branches change their morning glory signal every six months. 5. Ensuring all terminated employees have returned their keys, in addition to changing security codes for all entrances the employee was exposed to during employment. 6. Sending out email communication for robberies within a 60 mile radius.
In the event that a robbery does occur, the branch manager should immediately call 911. After, ensuring the safety of all employees and members the branch manager or highest ranking employee should contact the CCO at 555-555-5555. The CCO will then notify HR of the event and will work with this department to develop all internal and external communication messages. The human resource department will be responsible for contacting the CEO to inform him/her of the situation.
The crisis team will include: * Chief Compliance Officer (team lead) * Cheri Class- 555-555-5555 * Vice President of Human Resources (communication lesion) * Colleen James- 454-555-5698 * Public Relations Representative (spokes person) * Mary Smith- 546-597-5689 * Chief Executive Officer (decision maker) * Tom Allen- 548-845-5668 * Branch Manager (for branch location that has been robbed) * Branch #1- Suzie Banker 544-565-8997 * Branch #2- Tim Teller 547-854-5984 * Local law enforcement (to communicate details of the event)
Operations Center
In the event of a robbery, all operations for the crisis team will take place in the board room of the corporate office. This is the ideal spot for all meetings and communication since there is no branch it will be out of harm’s way allowing the crisis team to meet without fear of retaliation. After the team is together, the first step will be for the CCO to contact law enforcement to ensure it is safe for anyone from the crisis team to visit the location. Once it is safe, the CCO and Public Relations Representative will be required to visit the location to lead the post robbery efforts. Human resources will be left to put together the appropriate communication messages based on the severity of the robbery.
The crisis management team will also be responsible for the clean-up effort both internally and externally. Post robbery responsibilities will include: * Set up grief counseling services. * Arrange time off for those employees affected by the event. * After two weeks have passed, meet as a team to evaluate the success of the crisis management plan. Based off of the evaluation, corrections should be made as necessary.
Key Audiences
There are three key audiences that are most affected when a robbery occurs: employees, members, and surrounding residents of the community. With regard to our company employees, it will be extremely important that they have all the facts surrounding the event. In addition, it will be equally important they are fully aware of the statements they should be communicating to the public and members surrounding the detail of the event. As soon as the robbery is reported human resources will be responsible for sending out an all company email alerting employees of the event. Email communication is the most efficient way to reach all employees in the quickest amount of time. For safety reasons, it is important that all employees are alerted to the robbery in the event additional branches may be hit as well. A second communication message sent via email will have further instructions for employees on the approved verbiage employees should use when address concerns with the public and bank members. The following business day the CCO will hold an employee meeting at the branch that was affected discussing the event and providing contact information for trauma counseling if they deem it necessary to seek someone to talk to. All employees handle crisis situations differently so it is important for this face-to-face communication to happen showing the care and concern the credit union has for their employees. The second party that needs to be considered and addressed would be members of the credit union. This group of people would be split into two categories, those members involved in the robbery and those members not directly involved. It is necessary to split them into two categories because the communication strategy would be handled differently based on their closeness to the event. The company website will be updated with a press release of the event, statement from the CEO, and details of how the event was addressed. The website is the best way to communicate with all members because it is important to not unnecessarily alarm the public. Having the information on the website would provide those members who are aware of the situation a place to go and find the details. At the same time this would not draw unnecessary attention to the event for those members who may not live in the area or visit the branches on a regular basis. For those members that were involved directly in the robbery would be directly contacted by the company CEO offering his deepest apology along with offering trauma counseling services to those who would like to use it. The last group that needs to be considered is the public in the surrounding community. This group will be communicated with via statements made to local news channels and newspapers. This is the best way to get the information out to the public is to use the media channels in the area.
Media Awareness
The bank has the sole purpose to provide a universal and centralized message following any bank robbery. Our sole spokesperson is the Director of Public Relations, Mary Smith. She will be the sole distributor of a universal press release and will also be on hand to address any media requests. All media requests will be routed to Mary’s direct office line. All other employees should direct inquires to the Director of Public Relations and provide no comment or speculation to the local media. The media outlets will be faxed a standard press release acknowledging the bank robbery and issuing any necessary information by the bank and or the police department. Any suspect descriptions and or reward potential will also be included in the initial release. The distribution list for the media press release will include the local newspaper editors in addition to the local basic television news teams. For the initial and continued media inquiries, the bank will continue to route these to either the office of Mary Smith or to the local police spokesperson. The press release will take the standard format with one statement quoted from the Bank President, who will also provide draft approval.

Post-Crisis Planning and Evaluation The sole purpose of the bank’s post crisis plan is to have action and direction immediately following the bank robbery. Within a half hour from the conclusion of the crisis, the plan will have already been set in motion. Working in conjunction with the police and FBI agents, the bank crisis team will begin to implement the necessary steps. Initially following the bank robbery, the employees and customers will remain in isolation and lock-down status until the police have gathered all statements and cleared the building. No official statements will be given to the media. All communications from the bank will be issued by our official spokesperson. Within thirty minutes of the conclusion of the crisis, the bank employee phone chain will be initiated from upper management down. The phone tree will merely communicate the facts and any changes to bank hours the following day. Within the hour, a mass email will be dispersed to all account holders and bank patrons communicating the event that occurred and that customer updates will follow. The mass email will also be supplemented with additional signage placed in the main entrance of the bank. Once the bank building has been properly cleared and released to the bank, our bank auditors will go into action. The auditors will compile a report for the management team in terms of damages and losses. The cleaning team will also be put into action to make sure the bank is operational the following day. Any employee on the floor during the robbery will be placed on paid leave for a TBD amount of time. The bank has on retainer professional counselors and staff to aide in any necessary crisis’. These trained professionals will be accessible to both the affected employees as well as our affected customer base in the coming days and weeks. In the following days, the bank robbery will be analyzed and the timelines closely studied by the crisis management team. The team will conduct interviews of the employees and a sample set of the customers to ensure plan effectiveness and to make any necessary adjustments to the plan. The analysis and adjustments will be concluded within a week of the bank robbery. Final revisions and draft to be submitted and approved by the Bank President and the crisis management team.

Statement to the Public (Document #1)

PFCU Press Release- Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested
Cudahy, WI, October 14, 2010- At 4:00PM today local police were dispatched to the PFCU Cudahy branch responding to a male suspect armed with a gun. Once on the scene, it was learned that the male suspect wearing a baseball cap and overcoat held bank employees at gun point, demanding money. The male fled the scene of the crime with $500.00 cash, but was arrested an hour later at the local Wal-Mart attempting to spend the marked bills. The suspect was identified as Joe Robber, a local Cudahy resident.
“Thankfully, all employees followed what they were trained to do in the event of a robbery perfectly and no one was hurt,” says Tom Allen, CEO of PFCU. “Keeping our employees and members safe is always our number one concern and I’m glad all of our preparation has paid off.”
It is believed that Joe Robber has been out of work for the last year, facing eviction from his apartment, and needed the money to pay his bills. Bail has been set at $20,000 and sentencing is scheduled to take place later on this week.
Anyone with information regarding this robbery is urged to contact the Cudahy police department at 547-859-8888. For more information regarding this event, visit or call 555-869-9984 to talk directly to a credit union representative.
About Prime Financial Credit Union
Prime Financial Credit Union is A "non-profit" financial services cooperative owned and operated by and for its members. Member-owners receive their dividends back on a daily basis in the form of "no" or "low" fee products and services. A "for profit " financial institution returns its profits to share holders. We return it to our members.
Our History * State’s first chartered credit union * Community charter granted in 1923 * 87-year history of serving the financial needs of its members * Membership base in excess of 32,000 * Full array of financial products and services * Assets over $142 million

-End of Document-

Statement to Employees (Document #2)

To: All Employees
From: VP of Human Resources on Behalf of Tom Allen, CEO
Date: 10/14/2010
Subject: Cudahy Branch Robbery

As alerted to earlier today, the Cudahy branch was robbed today by an armed suspect. The male suspect, wearing a baseball cap and trench coat, was able to flee the scene of the crime collecting $500.00 cash. The man was later arrested and is being held at the Cudahy prison. Luckily no one was injured during the robbery. All employees followed the proper robbery procedures and as a result everyone in the organization should feel safe and out of harm’s way.
Cheri Class is working with the Cudahy police department to ensure additional security is available for each branch during the next two weeks. She has also coordinated trauma counseling for all employees who were affected by today’s events. If you would like to take advantage of this service please contact your local human resource representative for arrangements.
Currently, the Cudahy branch is closed and is scheduled to reopen tomorrow morning at 9 AM. In the event any employee is approached by the media the appropriate response is, “no comment.” If members or community residents ask the details of the event, it is not appropriate to discuss the details. All employees should direct the inquiries to our company website for further information.
If you have any further questions regarding today’s event or need clarification on the approved communication verbiage please contact your manager immediately.
Tom Allen

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