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Starting with our "Welcome aBoard" post, our weekly blog addresses issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members. 

The Volunteers Role to Question

by Donya Parrish, MCUN

In a recent column, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz reflected on the role of credit union volunteers to inspire and question management. She noted that directors often hold leadership roles in their communities and support the credit union by night.

While “committed volunteers make natural advocates for innovative and affordable financial services on behalf of their credit union’s members and potential members,” she said, they also “enjoy asking thought-provoking questions.” As many of you know, there are difficult issues facing the credit union industry right now. Whether you are looking at interest rate risk and the rumors that the Federal Reserve is about to finally increase rates, or dealing with the financial impact of yet another data breach, it is unlikely these topics are within the realm of your every day career. They are confusing and daunting to all of us.

One great suggestion that Chairman Matz gave is for volunteers to continue to ask questions of the management at your credit union. A few she suggested are…

  • How is management measuring the credit union’s exposure to interest rate risk?
  • What has management learned from shock testing?
  • Should officials consider changing the credit union’s balance sheet, product pricing, or investment strategy to avoid excessive interest rate risk?
  • How should the credit union’s policy on interest rate risk be updated to reflect the FRB’s new interest rate forecast?
  • What internal controls ensure the credit union will follow the board’s policy on interest rate risk?

So, as you prepare for your upcoming board meeting, make sure you take the time to advocate for the credit union’s future by asking candid questions about these issues. It is your role to ask, and the dialogue that ensues might be rewarding and educational to all. At the very least, it should give you comfort to sleep at night to know you asked, and management had a response for you.

Don’t feel that you are going it alone. Your ALM vendor and credit union team are all assembled to assist in looking at this, and it should be an open and thoughtful process to see your credit union’s future.

Donya Parrish is the VP-Dues Supported Services for the Montana Credit Union Network. She would welcome any questions or comments on this material. You can email Donya or call her at 800-745-5546, ext. 122.

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Below, you'll find links to past blog posts organized (loosely) into four categories. Feel free to browse. The blogs are all fairly short and provide food for thought in the areas of directors' duties and responsibilities, advocacy, working with the CEO, and ideas for strategic planning.  

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