Essential Checklist For Credit Union Succession Planning

By Tim Daugherty

The organizational structure of a credit union can change in the blink of an eye due to the loss of a key employee such as the CEO, executive or employee responsible for completing critical processes. Worried about your credit union succession planning? There are different types of incidents that factor into the planning. Immediate or unexpected incidents such as a heart attack, car accident or a recreational accident will impact the credit union immediately and there will be no time to try and figure things out on the fly. Long term incidents that can be planned for such as retirements, long term illness or resignations will give some advanced notice to help with the decision and transition process. Another type of incident would be an incident where there is a loss of several key employees at once such as if they were traveling together, a bombing or fire.

With a succession plan in place it will identify the individual that will step in and assume the role of the departed key employee. This allows for a planned transition and ensures the credit union continues to perform their business processes and serve members with little or no impact. Without a succession plan in place the credit union runs the risk of not only impacting the members in a negative way but it can lead to a disorganized corporate structure, loss of members/loss of market share, negative press and can destroy staff morale.
Mitigation Measures:

  • Create a list of positions that require successors, accounting for short- and long-term needs. Include jobs such as CEO, executives, project manager, etc. (consider critical business processes from the business impact analysis)
  • Establish an evaluation process for all employees thought to be likely successors for each job.
  • Each position should have not only one successor but at least two other individuals
  • If there is a position without a likely successor, evaluate how the company will fill the position (external hire, temporary successor, etc.).
  • Make sure successors are trained and knowledgeable about all aspects of the position that they will potentially assume.
  • Never allow all key personnel to take the same flight, automobile, or other mode of transportation when out of the office on business trips.
  • Caution employees against participating in unsafe activities during non-business hours.
  • Have a program to help with employees deal with the loss through counseling, etc.

These are only a few mitigation measures and more can be found on the internet at and other websites.

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