The Illinois CU League recently passed an amendment to itsbylaws prohibiting volunteers outside of the credit union industryfrom serving on its board.

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While many credit unions across the country rely on volunteerswho are lawyers, accountants or just interested members of thecredit union and community who invest time making important creditunion decisions, Vicki Ponzo, the league's senior vice president of memberservices, said it just makes sense to only have credit unionprofessionals as board members.

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The amendment prohibiting volunteers is part of a larger changeto the ICUL's bylaws, much of which pertains to measures approved in2009 to reduce the size of the league's board and revise the waydirectors are elected.

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“We debated it for quite a while and in the end it just madesense,” she said. “When we took a final vote I think there wereonly two votes against. It's really not a big deal.”

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Three Illinois credit unions contacted about the vote declinedcomment.

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Susan Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, aboard governance consulting firm in Boulder City, Nev., sees thisas a trend.

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“Perhaps increased expectations will drive a need fortransition,” she said. “As the credit union model becomes morecomplex, the need for specific experience will be needed. Drivingincome will be more of a focus and strategic initiatives, such asoff-balance sheet products and services will require specialbackgrounds.”

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Ponzo said that the issues presented to the board on a regularbasis are intricate, and that those outside of the industry oftenhave a difficult time grasping the situation of running asuccessful credit union.

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Another reason is that at this point all of the volunteers inIllinois that were not in the credit union industry have sinceretired, she said, and the ICUL has not had any volunteer boardmembers outside of the industry in more than three years.

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“Honestly, we really have not had much of an interest in peoplebecoming volunteers who don't work for a credit union,” shesaid.

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