SAN FRANCISCO - In a move credit unions have sought for years, Visa USA, the world's largest card brand, has named an executive from the credit union industry to its board of directors.
Robert Hackney, president of Card Services for Credit Unions, the association of credit unions which process their credit card transactions with Fidelity National Information Services, said he will take his seat after an orientation period over the next few weeks. "Boosting board representation of smaller institutions has been a priority as Visa underscores its commitment to balance the needs of all our stakeholders," said John Philip Coghlan, president and CEO of Visa USA. "With his relevant expertise, Bob Hackney will contribute valuable insights that reflect the perspectives of institutions at the community-based end of our membership spectrum, joining Chuck Doyle, Visa USA's long-standing director, representing smaller financial institutions."
Doyle is CEO of Texas First Bank and has long been seen as the director who would represent small issuers in Visa's decision making, although as a banker, CUs have complained that he could not represent them effectively. Commenting on his appointment, Hackney said, "I'm delighted to join Visa's board at such an exciting time for Visa and for the payments industry. I look forward to playing a role in Visa's decision making and helping to chart the course for its continued success."
Hackney will also serve on the board's Audit and Risk committee and will take a seat during a time of transition at Visa and its board. The board will grow to 17 seats, comprising eight independent directors, seven financial institution directors and two nonvoting Visa management directors. By comparison, the current board has 14 financial institution directors and two Visa management directors.
For Hackney, an executive usually recognized for his work behind the scenes, the announcement has brought a sudden burst of attention and phone calls from around the credit union industry, including David Serlo, CEO of PSCU Financial Services, an historic competitor with CSCU.
"David called me to offer congratulations and to talk with me about being on the board," Hackney said. "Dan Mica called me as well."
Serlo called Hackney's appointment "a great day for credit unions" and said that he looks forward to helping Hackney bring the views of credit unions to the board
"It's one thing to have a voice on the board, which we have never had before," Serlo said, "but it's another to have well-researched, credible and clear positions to bring to that board. That's something we really haven't had before as an industry, even though people at Visa have certainly heard from us through letters and other communications."
Card fraud and CU concerns about card fraud will be high on the list of CU concerns, Serlo estimated, but he stressed that CUs will not be pushing Visa to do things that CUs should do on their own to tighten up their fraud prevention. "Where we hope to have influence is in the area of policies and bylaws and other things that Visa controls," he said.
Hackney said the calls from both men drove home the more expanded perspective that he will have to bring to the position. As CSCU's CEO, Hackney will represent the interests of CSCU's 3,400 CU members, but will also have to represent the interests of credit unions that belong to other organizations and use other processors.
"I recognize that I am going to have to represent more than CSCU," Hackney said, "and I appreciate David Serlo calling me and opening the door. Our offices are really only a few miles from one another and I look forward to sitting down with him over lunch to hear what issues and strategies PSCU thinks are important."
Hackney's first Visa USA board meeting will be in the second week of July and he will serve in the position for at least a year, CSCU said. -firstname.lastname@example.org