To Term or Not to Term
Case study of a board that set up and later abolished term limits
by Charlene Komar Storey
$100 million, 11,300-member Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union decided to institute term limits some 25 years ago, when they were discussed at virtually every credit union association meeting.
“It seems like every five to 10 years, term limits come up as a hot topic, then simmer down again,” says the credit union’s president/CEO, Richard T. Webb.
“The board came back from a meeting all gung-ho,” recalls Webb. “We discussed it for several months, and decided to set a maximum of three, three-year terms.
“We were concerned that we would reach a time when the board would be heavy on retirees who wouldn’t represent the membership as a whole.”
The decision wasn’t unanimous, but seven of the nine board members supported it.
About nine years later, the first two board members reached the point where they would have to drop off the board at the next election. They didn’t want to leave, and the board was unanimous that it didn’t want to lose two of its most knowledgeable members. Term limits were eliminated.