NWCUA-Backed Oregon Legislation Reducing Number of Required Board Meetings Moves Closer to Implementation

The rule is expected to result in cost savings and flexibility for credit unions and their boards.

12/4/18

Image of a meeting table.

Credit union leaders and directors know the importance of having an engaged board. They’re also aware of the time commitment involved for staff and directors to prepare for board meetings in an increasingly complex financial services environment. It seems once a board meeting concludes, it’s immediately time to prepare the next agenda, with meetings occurring so frequently content is sometimes duplicated, or tangible updates are not yet possible.

To that end, a bill backed by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) passed through the Oregon Legislature last year, eliminating the requirement that a credit union board meet at least 10 times, in 10 separate months, each calendar year. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) is currently completing the rulemaking process to implement the law. During a public hearing on Nov.28, NWCUA’s Katie Clark, Director, Regulatory Compliance & Risk Management, and Seth Schaefer, President and CEO of Beaverton-based Rivermark Community Credit Union, provided written and verbal input to the DCBS.

NWCUA filed a letter with DCBS supporting its plan to define “regular board meetings” as a minimum of six per year, with at least one meeting held per quarter.

“As the dynamics of credit unions’ boards of directors continue to evolve, it is important that credit unions can offer their volunteers a modern and flexible meeting schedule,” noted Clark in NWCUA’s comment letter. “Reducing the number of minimum board meetings enables credit union volunteers to take advantage of other resources … such as online board portals, and more training opportunities, and strikes a balance between their volunteer requirements and other outside commitments.”

Having advocated for the legislation, Rivermark’s Schaefer found it empowering to add his voice to the rulemaking process.

“Focused on board governance modernization, we believe this structure will deepen strategic conversations, ultimately allowing everyone to look beyond the flurry of monthly reports to the larger opportunities,” Schaefer said. “It’s just good governance.”

NWCUA asked the Division of Financial Regulation (DFR), on behalf of the Director of DCBS, to allow credit union bylaws updates made in accordance with the rule to be considered approved without the need for additional agency review and approvals. The DFR, under DCBS, regulates Oregon credit unions.

DCBS will continue accepting public comments through Dec. 5. The final rule is expected to be implemented by Jan. 1.