Are You Leaving Your Board Makeup to Chance?

By Yvonne Evers

You may have a wonderful board—nice people who are friendly, show up to meetings, get along with each other, and respect the CEO. These are all good things. However, do you have people with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to lead your credit union to success? Do you even know what those competencies should be?

Many credit unions just leave the makeup of their board to chance or they accept anyone who is willing to serve in a volunteer role. I realize that it is hard for some credit unions to find people who are willing to give of their time to serve without pay in a very responsible role.

What is the alternative?

The alternative is to take a proactive approach to looking at the needs of the credit union and creating a list of ideal skills, knowledge, and abilities that should be represented on your board. Your board could accomplish this activity by completing the following steps:

  1. Assess the needs of your credit union. Review the mission, vision, and value statements of the credit union along with the key priorities for the next three to five years.
  2. Taking into consideration the needs of the credit union, create a list of the ideal skills, knowledge, and abilities that you feel should be represented on the board. Some common competencies include: strategic thinking ability, knowledge of board governance, knowledge of or experience in auditing or accounting, and senior management experience. There are many potential competencies and these will vary depending upon the needs of your credit union.
  3. Assess the current board members. After you have developed the list of competencies, have each board member perform a self-assessment stating which competencies they possess.
  4. Create a plan to fill the gaps. Will every competency be represented on your board? Maybe not. Does this mean that you should have some board members leave the board so you can get others that have these competencies? Not necessarily. There is no need to kick members off your board. What this exercise does is it shows you what you should be looking for in future board members and also gives you the opportunity to create educational opportunities for current board members to develop the skills and knowledge that might be lacking on your board.

Just like employers should always be on the lookout for good potential employees, the board should be doing a regular assessment of their needs and actively searching out people who might fulfill those needs.

Yvonne Evers is the owner of YME Coaching & Consulting, LLC, the creator of the Lead to Exceed Success Groups, and the author of the book Peak Credit Union Board Performance – 5 Key Strategies to Reach the Top. She has been driving credit union leadership and board success for over 20 years. Find out how at

Interested in Learning More?

In today’s rapidly changing financial services climate, credit unions are finding they must be able to rely upon the leadership skills of their elected officials. Scheduled for June 14-16 in Spokane, Wash., the NWCUA’s 2012 Volunteers’ Conference prepares credit union volunteers to work efficiently, make informed decisions and improve credit union performance by understanding key issues that are impacting the industry. This regionally unique event offers national-quality learning for both new and experienced volunteers, with the valued convenience of a regional location.

Yvonne Evers will lead two breakout sessions at the conference, “CEO Oversight – What’s the Right Formula?,” and “Board Member Succession – Does Your Credit Union Have a Plan?,” both of which will guide staff in composing and interacting with its volunteer board of directors.

Information on additional speakers is available online along with registration information.

Questions? Contact Training Programs Coordinator Yuri Jung: 206.340.4817,

Posted in Events.