Top 4 board governance lessons of credit unions and community banks
October 5, 2016
Ian Warner

Top 4 board governance lessons of credit unions and community banks

Keeping critical board conversations private, engaging time-starved directors, and deciding how best to adopt digital governance with an IT department juggling mounting internal needs and the Fintech race – these are daily realities of North American financial institutions.

Working with Vancity, BlueShore Financial, Coast Capital Savings, Assiniboine Credit Union and many other financial leaders, Aprio is on the frontlines of observing the common board governance challenges faced by financial institutions. Whether your organization manages $18 Billion dollars in assets or just tens of millions, here are the top 4 governance priorities credit unions and community banks are smart to address.

1. Decision and data privacy

Lending approvals – Boards are often final line of approval on key investment decisions. Sizing up loan and other lending decisions, directors sometimes have access to individual people’s credit scores, net worth, etc. This information is highly sensitive if shared – find a system that ensures security while supporting board review and discussion.

Loans in arrears over certain amount – Even more sensitive than loan information are details on large amounts in arrears. Any information related to write offs or overdue payments need to be protected during the board review process.

Leadership transitions / CEO reviews – Whether a leader is under review (360 review processes are commonplace these days) or there’s a transition plan underway – it is paramount to limit access to that information to key board members and out of the hands of broader management or staff. A board portal system that allows unique, segregated access to information readies you for these eventualities.

2. Efficient communication

Directors and regulators demand convenient info access – Financial organizations can have diverse boards, sometimes with diverse levels of governance experience. Whether directors are veterans or novices, it’s essential to make meeting and decision preparation efficient, and flexible to adapt to their schedules and travel. Increasingly boards demand online data access – a one-stop, secure board portal levels the playing field for all directors and supports productive engagement. Regulators like the same efficient system to conduct their reviews.

3. Appropriate technology

IT teams with overflowing priorities – Maybe you have an IT department that has the capacity and openness to evaluate digital governance tools or plan and deliver custom-built applications that fit your needs. Great! Most organizations though struggle as the demands on IT grow and the self-serve tools like email, Dropbox and other cloud-apps get tempting without clear risks.  Before you embark to bolt on more home-grown features to your in-house built board information system, or take security risks with non-board specific tool, consider a board portal. The software is proven to protect leading financial institutions.

4. Being ready for the worst

Disaster recovery plan required – Boards have a responsibility to safeguard an organization. Sometimes that can mean from natural disaster or even terrorist threat that prevents access to offices. Whatever your risks – ensure the vital information that your chair and key executives need are accessible online, all the time.

Financial institutions and credit unions rank Aprio #1

Aprio is the most trusted board portal for credit unions and community banks. We deliver affordability, simplicity, unmatched training & support and security. Our loyal customers range from BlueShore Financial to Vancity, Coast Capital Savings, Meridian Credit Union, Assiniboine Credit Union and dozens of other financial customers.

Curious about the impact we could have for you? Let us show you.

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