As the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the country, Live Oak Bank did what almost all banks—along with other businesses—did: sent its customers an email.
Like others, the email emphasized the bank’s customer commitment and reminded customers that online banking tools remained fully available. But the notice was a little different than other banks: Live Oak’s offices were fully closed and every single one of its employees was teleworking to support the goal of social distancing.
“Our cloud-based operations allow us to be nimble in the face of pandemics and other stresses,” the email read. “We’ve been through two hurricanes impacting our headquarters, and as we learned then and continue to embrace today, we remain laser-focused on our employees and customers. Our valued employees will work remotely, but they remain committed and available to support you.”
It’s true. Live Oak’s hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, is close to the beach and regularly in the path of Atlantic hurricanes. With Hurricane Florence in 2018 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the bank closed its campus entirely. “When we have some issue, we’re able to do the same [work],” says Brian Lora, Live Oak’s chief technology officer, adding that the bank “just tell[s]people to go where it’s safe.”
The reason for this resilient agility is Live Oak’s cloud-based technology architecture. “Because we’ve been an online bank and in the cloud from the beginning, we basically run our business this way every single day,” says Lora. “It’s good business practice for a business to run, regardless of world conditions.”