A credit union board can be the institution’s biggest asset…or its biggest liability.
As volunteers, board members enter their roles with varying degrees of experience and tend to stay on the board for extended periods of time. Is your credit union giving them the resources they need to get up to speed? How about the ability to retire knowing there’s someone ready to take their spot?
Just like with credit union executives, credit union board members need a career path to help them find success in their roles.
Start at the Supervisory Committee
The supervisory committee is a great place to shape future board members. Besides reviewing credit union records and controls, the supervisory committee members can observe board activities and prepare for the future role. That means they must be invited to board meetings and not left in the dark.
Make your supervisory committee into non-voting participants in board activities, and they won’t be surprised once they’re on the board.
This stage is also a great place to start some financial training (particularly if the volunteer has little experience in the industry). The NCUA says new board members need to learn basic finance and accounting skills in six months.
Think about how great it would be if you had already taught them these skills in the supervisory committee!
Teach the Board How to Govern
Hopefully, the volunteers’ time on the supervisory committee taught them some things about board governance. But there may still be some gaps to fill.
Your board members must learn how to prioritize, lead and craft strategic initiatives while staying out of the weeds. None of these skills are easy to grasp. That’s why board governance training is so important.
The demarcation between strategic and tactical tasks is an especially important lesson to learn. For example, the board doesn’t need to participate in low-level hiring decisions. Volunteers should leave such tactical considerations to the CEO. However, that doesn’t stop some boards from requiring board chairperson approval for new hires (true story).
Board governance training also helps volunteers lead responsibly and recognize the responsibility they have to the members.
As another example, taking loss after loss on charge-offs should be a harder decision than deciding whose grandkid is cutting the grass outside the branches. Yet, that’s not the case for every board (yet another true story).
Teach your board what’s important and how to think about it. Put them in the right headspace for governing your credit union.
Develop a Board Reflective of Your Membership
Many credit union boards skew a certain way. A recent analysis of credit union boards showed 46% of volunteers are older than 65 and only 10% are under 40. Volunteers are also 65% male and 84% white.
Don’t get me wrong – these volunteers provide valuable insights and experience. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these demographic trends. Just make sure your board remains reflective of your membership and membership desires.
Every board member builds an incredible legacy at your credit union. Part of that legacy may involve passing the reins to someone who now better reflects the membership. Retiring board members can work with incoming board members to discern members’ desires and continue representing the credit union well.
Help your board members leave a lasting legacy when you enlist On The Mark Strategies. We provide board governance training to help your board members chart out future success for the credit union. Book a free consultation today!