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Empty chairs in boardroom Source: Shutterstock

An unexpected occurrence happened along the path of three decades serving credit unions and their business partners: The course widened to include assisting the largest companies in the country. After all, so many credit unions and their leaders have current and historical ties to these companies (think Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, Marriott, Nordstrom and many more).

How do the boards of the largest companies structure their functions, serve stakeholders and engage in strategy? They are focused on long-term value, emerging strategy, capital growth and market leadership. Structurally, governance is governance, and similarities exist between credit unions and these companies (fiduciary duty, independence, committees, terms, etc.). Differences exist, too (pay, top-heavy ownership, combined chair/CEO role, activist investors, etc.). And, for as much as credit unions can reaffirm and refine board governance, they can model a lot, as well.

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