Navigating Vendor Management Concerns in the Wake of COVID-19

Question:

What questions should lenders ask their vendors to assess the potential impact of coronavirus on service levels/operations?

 

Answer:

 With concerns surrounding COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) intensifying, many companies have instituted domestic travel bans, which could impact the delivery of some services to lenders, such as on-site audits. Companies are also preparing for the possibility that employees will need to work remotely in the event that mandatory quarantines are required to slow the spread of infection. To assess how the response to coronavirus could impact service levels, lenders should ask their vendors the following questions:

 

  • What steps is your organization taking to monitor the situation?
  • Where is your workforce located geographically, and how will the coronavirus impact each of your locations?
  • Does your organization have a telecommute policy in place, and if so, what does it entail? If not, what procedures is your organization putting in place in the event that telecommuting becomes necessary?
  • Do you anticipate disruption in your own supply chain?  If yes, how will it impact your ability to provide support, services or products to us?
  • Will government-imposed travel ban restrictions impede your ability to provide uninterrupted support, services or products to us? If yes, please provide an explanation.
  • How are you addressing key person dependencies in your organization, and is cross-training included in that plan?
  • What is your organization’s disaster recovery plan in regards to IT and network infrastructure?
  • Has your organization conducted a service level risk assessment, and if so, how are you assessing those risks?

For additional information on how organizations should respond internally to coronavirus concerns, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.