More than 5.3 million Canadians and business owners are members of co-operative financial services in Canada. Their financial security and success depend on the commitment and capabilities of the board of directors they elect.
That's why it's surprising how many credit union members are unaware of what their board of directors do and how important it is to be an educated participant in the electoral process. As in any democracy, the people elected to represent member interests are responsible for and accountable to the economic well-being of the people who voted them into office.
Here is some quick schooling to bring you up to speed on the duties of a board of directors, your role in the decision-making process, and what you should know if you want to run for a position.
A credit union is a business and must be run accordingly. Your board of directors set short- and long-term strategies and the policies and procedures affecting everything from business operations, to community involvement, to dividends. The board also represents the membership's collective values concerning social, environmental and economic responsibility.
A director position is voluntary although expenses are covered and an honorarium is often provided. A director can devote up to 20 hours a month preparing for and attending regular monthly board meetings. Additional time is also spent serving on various advisory committees with specific responsibilities such as Community Leadership, Financial Policy and Governance.
While a good heart and clear mind are important attributes, a prospective director should also possess pertinent experience and skill sets. Overall the board needs to be strong in many areas, so a diversity of directors who bring different knowledge is important. Annually, the directors look at the competencies of the board and identify areas to strengthen. A director should have experience and knowledge in some of these key areas:
Are you passionate about the well-being of the community at large? Do you understand financial statements? Can you analyze management reports? Strong governance, leadership, communications and technology skills are assets, and previous board or committee experience of some kind is a plus.
A credit union is only as good as its board of directors. That's why it is so important for well-informed members to show up when election time comes around.
Are you interested in learning more about your Board of Directors or running to become a Director?
Speak with a current director or contact Karla Whitaker, Executive Assistant, at 877.352.7207.
Nelson & District Credit Union posts its Call for Nominations on an annual basis in December.