BECU Announces Plan to Pay Stipends to Officials

BECU, the nation’s fourth-largest credit union with more than 825,000 members and more than $11.5 billion in assets, plans to compensate its directors and Audit Committee members (Officials) beginning in 2014. BECU members were informed of the plans Nov. 5 in an article posted to the credit union’s News Center website.

Washington law authorized state-chartered credit unions to offer “reasonable” compensation to their Officials effective July 28, 2013.  

“Our Officials have growing fiduciary and regulatory responsibilities that demand more time and work,” says Todd Pietzsch, manager of public relations. “The payment of stipends will help ensure that BECU continues to retain and attract individuals with board-level strategic and thought leadership, which is in the best interest of our members.”

BECU’s board has approved annual stipends ranging from $14,000 to $25,000, depending on the Official’s position and committee service. The board’s chair will be the only Official to receive the full $25,000 stipend. BECU’s stipend policy takes effect in January 2014, with the first set of stipend payments to be made in April 2014.

“The BECU Compensation Committee conducted a market review with a third-party consultant to determine what level of stipend would be consistent with the desired objectives,” Pietzsch said. “The outcome was the decision to pay Officials a modest stipend that is lower than the median paid by other financial institutions of similar size, which is consistent with our cooperative nature.”

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reports that credit unions in nine states can currently pay at least one member of the board, while 12 states allow for more-comprehensive board compensation.

BECU says that it will pay modest stipends to its Officials consistent with its not-for-profit, cooperative structure, but compensation for directors of large banks is generally much higher.

A 2012 nationwide survey by Meyer-Chatfield found that board chairs of banks with assets greater than $5 billion were being paid median cash retainers of $40,000 per year, plus $10,000 in other cash compensation per year and per-meeting fees averaging $1,500.

BECU’s News Center article also calls for nominations for board and Audit Committee positions. Elections will be held at BECU’s annual meeting in April 2014.

 

Editor’s note: Compensation for Officials is likely to be a hot topic when credit union executives gather June 6-8, 2014 for the NWCUA’s Directors Conference at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Wash. Mark your calendars now and watch for details online.

Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

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