As credit unions strive to best support their members during COVID-19, board members are facing tough decisions that have them performing a balancing act between credit union fiduciary accountability and the needs of members.
Whether credit unions are wrestling with choices to waive service fees or offer skip-a-payment mortgage options, there’s a lot to consider for credit union boards right now. To help guide and support board members, we offer this white paper on how credit union boards can strike the right conversation, and access the right information and technology, to make the best decisions.
“The challenge for credit union board members, and this goes beyond this moment with COVID-19, is to balance fiduciary and compliance duty with member needs and expectations.”
– John Dinner, John T. Dinner Board Governance Services
Credit union boards are at the heart of the movement to better engage diverse voices, create an environment for more inclusive board communication, and to ensure the complex needs of the members served are best met. But how do credit unions achieve that goal?
Peter Myers of DDJ Myers frames the challenge this way: “Too often, credit union boards lack ongoing awareness of membership needs and how they may be changing. When that’s not done, it’s a common mindset for board members to imagine the credit union serves one kind of persona – maybe someone just like themselves. That’s usually not an accurate full picture. Most executive teams and board members need to be making decisions and contributing input thinking in terms of multiple member personas.”
According to Peter Myers, “Boards can cultivate continuous awareness of member needs by raising the topic at the board table. Board chairs can ask around the boardroom table, ‘Who do you think we’re serving?’ to heighten perspective. What we want to do is reveal limits of each of our thinking and our own biases, especially when serving tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of members.”
Board management software plays an important role helping credit union boards perform their complex role. It helps to make board meetings inclusive, encourages open communication, and gives every board member the opportunity to contribute anytime, from anywhere. Board portal technology also secures board information and protects business continuity.
The white paper, Getting to the right conversation, for the right decisions, explores best practices when it comes to creating the ideal conditions to get the most value from credit union boards as advisors on evolving member needs, managing risk, and staying true to organizational vision.
The paper sets out five practical priorities to guide strong decisions as credit unions manage through COVID-19, and map a plan to come out of this time with an even stronger board in place.
Our thanks goes out to board governance advisors John Dinner and Peter Myers of DDJ Myers for contributing their perspectives.