Three ways to increase credit union board retention

Nearly half of credit union boards turn over every five years. As part of that trend, credit unions welcome, on average, at least one new member per year.

Those findings from a recent CUNA study validate what many leaders in our industry have been experiencing for years.

More than 50% of board members reported their understanding of credit unions and the movement was below average when they first joined, according to a recent CUNA survey. Not surprisingly, experience gained in the boardroom allowed them to learn as they served.

As strategies evolve to best serve members and continue advocating for credit union priorities, solidifying boards is a primary way to ensure they are in a position to deal with change with a wide breadth of industry awareness. Retaining new and experienced directors – and the institutional knowledge they possess – allows credit unions to serve members with directors’ invaluable experience.

Here are some recommended steps to consider for retaining your board leaders at your credit union:

  • Invest in the development of your board

Everyone, including board members, deserves opportunities to learn and grow in their role. A training regimen makes credit union board members more efficient and productive. It drives success for years to come.

Build a training plan around topics including financial literacy, asset-liability management (ALM), industry trends, professional development and becoming a Certified Credit Union Board (CCUB) member.

Board members need to fully understand the responsibility they are taking on. This includes a financial responsibility to members, as well as a fiduciary responsibility. That means each director must perform their duties in good faith and in a manner they believe to be in the best interests of the credit union.

Getting new board members trained to the point where they feel confident speaking up in the boardroom is especially important. Training for experienced board members can focus on opportunities to understand changes in the industry so they don’t feel like they are constantly recycling ideas.

  • Give your board opportunities to be excited about their role

Send board members to training and industry events, as well as events taking place in your community, which will help them gain new ideas to bring to the boardroom. Education helps to build new directors’ enthusiasm for the credit union and its role.

A board member who brings their own measure of passion to the task is far more likely to be effective and engaged. One quality of successful board members is fondness for the community-oriented, not-for-profit mission of the credit union.

Education can be ongoing. Directors can stay up to date about the industry through various resources.

  • Grow your board’s network

Give directors the opportunity to build a solid network of professional peers, both inside and outside of the credit union industry. This can be accomplished both in person at learning events, as well as through online communities.

Advantages of building a professional network include:

  • Strengthening business connections
  • Learning fresh ideas
  • Gaining more knowledge
  • Building confidence
  • Understanding a different perspective
  • Getting an answer to every question

All of these benefits will help your directors develop professionally while learning how others in their position handle similar issues and challenges. This intent and strategy can bring an important diversity of ideas to board discussions, which reflects the needs of the members.

Actively looking for ways to enhance directors’ board experiences is a fundamental way to combat the high rate of turnover. Retaining board members over time serves members well through the board’s collective understanding of industry regulations and trends. Being intentional about building the experience and knowledge of individual board members in this way provides the essential learning environment for inexperienced newcomers when turnover does occur.

Katherine Fischer

Katherine Fischer

Katherine is a results-orientated leader with 15+ years of experience in leadership, training & development, instructional design, project management and event planning. She is an exceptional self-starter with aggressive learning capabilities, ... Web: Details