SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (11/23/10)--The economy has caused regulators to shine a spotlight on accountability and knowledge among credit union board members, and a new survey of Vermont credit union directors brings home that point. The survey, by the Association of Vermont Credit Unions (AVCU), found that most credit unions surveyed have an aging director population with no term limits and that few have a formal description of expectations or qualifications of their directors beyond what's cited in their bylaws (Newslines Express
Nov. 19). Among the survey's findings:
* Number of directors: 50% have seven directors and one-third have nine; * Term limits: 83% reported no term limits; others are limited to two or three terms; * Director age; About half of credit unions' directors are in their 40s; one-third are in their 60s; * Director job description: 84% have no job description other than specified in the bylaws; * Nominating committee direction: 83% of nominating committees receive no particular direction; and * Other volunteer service: Credit unions are split on whether new directors typically come from other volunteer positions in the credit union.
The survey also found that credit unions seeking a mix of director criteria beyond bylaw minimums report a desire for a gender/race balance and specific experience in finance, or marketing or business. One credit union reported analyzing its board strengths and weaknesses to generate a list of gaps or needs to consider when seeking candidates. Credit unions that provide new director orientation provide, at a minimum, training in financial statements and confidentiality issues. Others with more formal orientation include a review of strategic plans, history, personal conduct and protocol, and in some instances use formalized board self-study training materials such as those provided by the Credit Union National Association.