Fostering a Culture of Continuing Education Starts at the Top
Given the fast pace in which the world changes, never has the need for continuing credit union board education been greater.
According to Deborah J. Davidson, vice president of governance research/publication at BoardSource, creating a culture of education goes hand in hand with a culture of evaluation and assessment and that commitment has to start at the top with the chairman and CEO.
For Phil Ouellette, who is immediate past chairman at Citadel Federal Credit Union and second vice chair of the National Association of Credit Union Chairmen board, it’s the opportunity to learn and participate that he enjoys most as a board member.
At the Thorndale, Pa.-based credit union, the board publishes an educational calendar every year and board members select which educational opportunities they’ll attend that year. They also pick a meeting they’ll cover at the national and state level. At the end of the year, board members complete a report stating what they’ve done, so it’s easy to track where the board as a whole stands in terms of educational needs.
He added that formal education ranging from conferences to government rallies is left for the most part to the individual unless there are requirements set down by NCUA or CUNA. In addition to these conferences, the Lompoc, Calif.-based credit union maintains a full library of VLP and VAP courses, and also encourages online training via NCUA/CUNA, CUES, or other external resources. In addition, board supervisory members returning from conferences submit a trip report summarizing the conference and give an oral summary at the following board meeting.
"Finally, appropriate guest speakers are invited to educate us on those issues that are currently taking place at the national, state and local levels that have an impact on the credit union," said Rafferty. "I think the biggest challenge, not only for CoastHills but for all credit union boards, is keeping up to date with ever-changing regulations as well as the expectations of our members. The only way to ensure that our membership is effectively represented is for our board to not only know what new regulations are coming but also how they affect both the management and operation of the credit union, and at the same time the interests and financial stability of our members."