PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Have we planned adequately for succession to our board? How is the relationship between our board and the CEO? The Michigan Credit Union League has launched a Governance Consultancy Service to help credit unions answer questions like that. The program, through the league’s CUCorp division, will be coordinated by Mark Lynch. Lynch served as deputy chairman of the Australian National Credit Union, that nation’s largest, and worked with the Australian Credit Union Foundation. Since moving to the U.S. he has delivered presentations to some 30 state leagues on topics such as credit union governance and credit union taxation. Alan Babcock, MCUL vp/strategic solutions consulting, explained the idea for the new service really came from credit unions themselves. “In conversations with our credit unions it became clear one of the things they were looking for was help in streamlining their governance process or maybe some way to gauge if they were as effective as they should be,” Babcock said. The first step is an assessment of a credit union’s overall governance, involving sessions with the CEO and board. Then the league consultant will analyze the information and offer any recommendations for improvement or highlight areas the credit union may want to address. The consultant is also available to help look at any specific area “It’s really an ad hoc service from assessment to implementation of whatever the credit union desires. A lot of it may be discovered as they go through the discussion phase. He is also available for strategic planning sessions,” Babcock says. A PowerPoint presentation prepared by Lynch lists a dozen aspects governance consultancy can look at ranging from the board planning process to risk management, board functions and responsibilities, disclosures and reporting, and the board-CEO relationship. The list includes board composition. “Maybe a board member is about to retire,” Babcock said. “What type of individual should we bring on? Our field of membership has expanded. Maybe we need to look outside the normal mold to bring in someone who represents the new membership.” The time involved in the governance assessment will depend on the contract with each credit union. Lynch expects he will meet with the CEO and chairman at least once, probably twice, and perhaps even meet with the entire board. The cost will be based pretty much on an hourly rate, with the time involved expected to range from 5 or 10 hours to perhaps 25. In a release announcing the service, Lynch emphasized credit unions don’t need to be experiencing problems or facing a crisis to benefit from the Governance Consultancy Service. “In fact, a proactive approach to effective governance is far preferable to waiting until problems begin to surface,” he emphasized. [email protected]

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