Twenty-Minute Online Survey Could Provide Critical Information for the Future of Credit Unions


Credit unions experienced a rare opportunity in the wake of Bank Transfer Day to grow membership, but what are the best governance models for growing and sustaining membership into the 21st Century?

That is the focus of the Filene Research Institute’s first-ever North America-wide survey. Widespread participation will ensure statistically sound research, according to Filene.

Researchers understand that getting credit union leaders to spend a few minutes filling out the online survey could be a challenge. Filene needs just one response per credit union and is asking that the chief executive officer, board chair or governance committee chair spends approximately 20 minutes completing the survey.

“I think, quite honestly, credit union leaders can feel ‘surveyed out,’” said Filene’s George Hofheimer, “but it’s really the only reliable way to collect information.”

A high-quality, truly useful survey examining credit unions’ unique practices compared to the corporate world has been talked about often but doesn’t yet exist. A survey comparing the best governance practices in the United States and Canada could provide credit union leaders and volunteer board members with a better understanding of their obligations.

“The stakes for being a board member in a credit union today have gotten higher,” Hofheimer noted. “There are a lot of newer directors. The more information we can share, I think it will be quite helpful.”

The survey is designed by a team of credit union government experts, led by Dr. Peter Goth of the University of Dublin.

The survey, which is available online through the month of November, seeks data on a variety of governance materials, including:

  • Credit union motivators for change and growth;
  • Board composition, director diversity, and regional representation;
  • Director competencies, recruitment practices, and training;
  • Credit union policies for director term limits;
  • Board self-evaluation and director assessments; and
  • Credit union experience at annual general meetings.

The survey answers will be kept confidential by the researchers and used only for academic purposes, Filene reports. A final report will be made available to Filene members, credit union leagues and participants in 2012. Goth will facilitate a webinar highlighting the results as well.

Take the survey here.


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