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CUs Held to High Standards When it Comes to Protecting Member Data, Mil-Way FCU CEO Says
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 6:50 AM

When it comes to protecting members’ personal data, Mil-Way FCU CEO Allen Brown says the Texarkana, Ark.-based credit union takes that responsibility very serious.

“Credit unions are held to very high standards, and Mil-Way FCU performs its due diligence to keep our members and their personal data safe,” he tells the Leaguer. “We adhere to strict security policies and procedures. We have firewalls in place to prevent intruders from accessing our network. And we perform periodic penetration testing to ensure the systems we have in place are working.”

Unfortunately, when a member swipes their debit card at a restaurant, gas station; or retailer, it’s up to that merchant to maintain a secure network environment. If there’s a breach, such as the recent Target data breach, Brown says the credit union is impacted.

“We had to replace about 500 debit cards,” he said. “But more importantly, we had to restore member confidence.”

“Anytime there is a data breach of this magnitude, it affects members’ confidence. The last thing we want is for members to be afraid of using their debit card,” Brown continued. “We weren’t responsible for the breach; however, our members didn’t necessarily understand that, so we spent a significant amount of time briefing our member service team on the Target breach, so they in turn could inform and educate our membership.” 

Brown says the credit union encourages members to monitor their accounts weekly – if not daily - so that they can identify fraudulent activity early.

He would also like to see retailers be held more accountable for data breaches. 


Helpful Resources: The Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference Feb. 23-27 in D.C. The Cornerstone Credit Union League will host two special events for Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, including a legislative briefing. Jim Phelps, vice president of advocacy for Cornerstone, says data breaches are one of the three key issues that will be discussed with lawmakers during the Hill visits.  Visit Cornerstone’s website for more details.

Javelin Strategy & Research has released its study of credit card issuers' security, which finds financial institution credit cards score high in security compared to retailer credit cards.