By Donya Parrish, MCU VP- Risk Management
We had a conversation during our weekly staff meeting recently that was entertaining. It also led me to think about credit union board meetings.
What started with a discussion about our fax functionality being restored (after an IT issue) and an employee exclaiming, “we have a fax machine?”, evolved into a history of thermal paper and how we used to rely on blast faxes to get the word out to credit unions prior to email. That was, in fact, the second employee to learn we had a fax in as many days. The problem might be that the fax “machine” no longer sits on a prominent shelf dinging and whirring to notify us of the arrival of a message.
What is your credit union board missing because you are not being prominently alerted to the issue? Are there trends with loan delinquencies you are not seeing? Do you have a segment of your membership struggling with saving for financial emergencies? Is there a branch that isn’t serving its purpose and area any longer, but you don’t track it outside your main office? There can be a lot that is “under the surface” that takes an effort to manage. You may have the data in the credit union’s systems, and yet, not see the output of it for necessary discussions in your meetings.
I know credit unions of all sizes are feeling the pressure to keep up on technology, and they generally start by looking at the latest and greatest tech trends and services that members want. Have you stopped to look at what your board is using for meetings, for communicating internally and externally, and for tracking data? Have your board reports evolved over time to include trends dashboards, or are you looking at the same financials you did 50 years ago?
Let’s be honest, stopping to see if and how the board meeting process can be improved is not often a priority, especially when everyone is pretty comfortable with how it has been done. Change is hard, even if it means something better is waiting. I would challenge you to think about ways you have seen efficiency, improvements, and general “ah-ha” moments from other boards you might serve on and bring those ideas back to discuss at your credit union monthly meeting.
I would love to hear what you come up with, and even how something you tried worked or maybe didn’t. Just don’t fax them to me or they might end up in the great electronic abyss!