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HARRISBURG, Pa.-One of the biggest changes the new year brings to Pennsylvania credit unions is a significant downsizing of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) board of directors from 21 members to nine members. According to President and CEO Jim McCormack, the change came about as a result of a governance audit conducted by an outside firm that recommended making the board tighter to save money for member credit unions and to complete work faster. Member CUs adopted this and other bylaw changes at their 2003 annual meeting, but the changes did not go into effect until January 1, 2005. “Our board worked very hard for nearly two-and-a-half years to arrive at an efficient model for setting the association’s policy and strategic direction while preserving credit union representation,” McCormack says. “Nine people can meet more often than 21. It’s tougher to get 21 together than nine.” At its peak, about six or seven years ago, the PCUA board had 28 members. To implement the board change, all seats become open for election at the start of this year, at which time nominations-one from each of PCUA’s newly designated nine districts-will be accepted. District elections are scheduled for March, and new board members will begin their terms in May. During the first term, term beginnings will be staggered-one, two or three years-so that no more than one-third of the directors will be up for election in any one year. Afterwards, all board members will serve for three years. As its first order of business, McCormack says, the board will deal with the results of a directional member survey-basically a report card of membership’s needs and challenges for the future. The board also will make use of an outside facilitator at its first few meetings to ensure priorities are followed. Critical to the success of the newly structured board will be increased input from credit union leaders who are knowledge based in certain areas. “We have a wealth of talent in Pennsylvania,” McCormack says. “We want to be sure to do an even better job of using it to make recommendations.” “We want a fair amount of point/counterpoint, so items are truly debated,” McCormack adds. “We want to listen to the pros and cons so we can clear the air.” Beyond its governance issues, the PCUA will be working with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and legislators regarding payday lending and predatory lending. The association also will continue its efforts to promote the CU movement, says Michael Wishnow, senior vice president of communications and marketing. In recent months, the association has sponsored a series of media tours with representatives from various credit unions, as well as its annual advertising campaign. In addition, the league has a regular presence on the television show “Pennsylvania Newsmakers.” “It truly is raising the bar with people in the capital area about how they perceive credit unions,” Wishnow says about the show. -

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