Credit unions highlight measures to keep financial data safe

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published October 3, 2018

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

METRO DETROIT — Financial institutions store more valuables than money; they also store valuable financial data.

And credit union representatives say they have plans and programs in action to make sure that users have peace of mind. 

Shawn Gilnis, of the Michigan Credit Union League, described in an email how credit unions take the protection of their members’ financial information seriously.

“I can tell you that Michigan credit unions are vigilant about handling data security, and the Michigan Credit Union League is likewise vigilant about advocating for the very best data security standards to be set at the legislative level,” he said.

Over at FreeStar Financial Credit Union, Paula Rose, the vice president of marketing, said her organization employs protections to shield customers from data breaches. 

“There are no significant differences between credit unions and banks as it relates to security policies,” she said in an emailed statement. “All financial institutions are held to the same strict standards and regulations as it relates to data security and protecting consumer data.”

Rose said they make sure that their information technology infrastructure is regularly tested to keep members’ data secure from threats.

“When data breaches occur outside of the credit union, FreeStar Financial takes swift action to protect any members who may have been impacted by the data breach,” she said in an email. “Actions may include reissuing a new debit card or rejecting any transactions that may be fraudulent.” 

According to Rose, another one of the credit union’s anti-fraud protections that could thwart potential identity thieves is a special risk assessment tool that does real-time account monitoring. The monitoring occurs when a member uses a debit card, and it looks for transactions that strongly suggest fraud, then rejects them, she said. 

“Additionally, we offer identity theft protection for a small fee on our checking accounts, which provides credit monitoring, fully managed identity recovery and internet monitoring,” she said.

In a statement, FreeStar Financial Credit Union President and CEO Drema Isaac added that the organization’s members have trusted it over its 61 years.

“Security will continue to be a top priority to ensure our members’ financial information remains safe and secure,” she said.

Oct. 18 is International Credit Union Day. Find out more about FreeStar Financial Credit Union by visiting www.freestarfinancial.com. Find out more about the Michigan Credit Union League by visiting www.mcul.org.