Time to Talk Turkey on ‘Volunteer’ Boards

Paying Board Members Can Be A Logical Process

by Sarah Snell Cooke

’m very much what you see is what you get. I feel the need to forewarn bosses that I will always be honest with them, and occasionally more honest than I should be for self-preservation. I’m respectful about it and always do it for the right reasons, but there you have it.

I can’t abide phonies, laughable mission and vision statements, people who try too hard to look smart and credit union “volunteers” that aren’t.

READ: Most Boards Don’t Pay, Some Do Handsomely

I’ve written several times in favor of paying credit union board members. I believe it could help recruit board members, as well as provide the proverbial stick and carrot for some who need it so credit unions can justify removing underperforming board members.

However, running to Capitol Hill with the message that credit unions are run by volunteer boards of directors is disingenuous. Sure, most are, but that’s never been the message because “most” doesn’t deliver as strong an impact. In fact, until recently I didn’t know some credit unions paid their directors, and some of those better than many full-time jobs.

I was quite disenchanted with this discovery. I’ve been covering the credit union community for 14 years and had no idea some volunteer directors are paid, in my own home state even. And paid well! Heck, some credit union executives were caught unaware.

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