Card breaches are becoming more prevalent. Several years ago it was TJ Maxx and most recently it’s been Target and Neiman Marcus. However, those were just the ones that made the news. Cards are compromised daily – just on a smaller basis. The smaller fraud incidents are often handled through financial institutions’ fraud monitoring systems. While the future of card breaches is ever changing, it is for certain that fraud monitoring is a 24-hour business.

The increased frequency of fraud makes it even more important to develop a strategy that balances members’ needs and potential risks of losses. In my opinion, Verity’s quick response in the wake of the Target announcements on Dec. 19 accomplished both of those items. The same day the news about the Target breach hit, a team of people came together to at Verity and took prompt action. Five days before Visa officially published its list of impacted cards, we had identified our members who shopped at Target during the impacted period. When Visa did finally issue their list on Dec. 23, we were able to confirm the accuracy of our list.

Knowing the impacted members allowed us to reach out to them via email immediately. This was a project where we realized the value of email and being able to get communication out to members without waiting two-plus days for the mail. We were also able to record a phone message for all members to hear, alerting them to check their email and to expect any follow-up communication through that channel.

What I’m most proud of regarding this process was our team’s agility to try new things. It would have been easy to follow the exact steps that we’ve done for previous card breaches. However, we were able to look at things and ask, “How can we improve? What can be automated to improve and streamline this process?” The result was automating a previously manual card ordering and blocking process that trimmed up to two days off the timeline and numerous labor hours. While other financial institutions were still debating about whether or not to block and reissue cards, Verity credit and debit cards were already in the mail to members.

As someone who loves process improvement I was even more over the moon when we came together last week to further review our procedures. We thought of ways we could improve communication and make the process even smoother for our members. While reissuing cards and card breaches is not something we want to be good at, we realize it is a necessity. We also know that Verity’s mission is to enhance members’ lives, and using our products and services is part of that vision. To meet our vision, we want to continue to improve our products and processes so that members don’t see interruptions using our cards, regardless of what happens with fraud.

Le Ann Langston

Hello! I’m Le Ann Langston and I’m the Director of Member Services Northgate for Verity Credit Union. Member Service Manager is another name for the call center manager. Talking on the phone was a hobby of mine as a teenager and now I have made a career of it. If only I had a cool headset when I was 13! In my spare time I enjoy yoga, writing and reading just about anything. I am slightly addicted to TV and am currently hooked on a number of shows. Given this list of indoor pursuits you may find it hard to believe that I enjoy traveling to new places. Most people would never know that at one point I almost moved to London just for a change of pace.

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