Credit unions are volunteer-run cooperatives

At the heart of every credit union are its volunteers. Among those volunteers are the directors that sit on the board[1], and the supervisory committee members.

Directors of the credit union serve the same purpose as the directors of any organization—they provide direction, governance, and leadership for the credit union. [2] Ultimately, they’re responsible for the direction and performance of the credit union. That’s a heavy load for unpaid volunteers!

That’s right, the governing body of each credit union consists of volunteers, democratically elected from among the members of the credit union. These volunteers are not paid. They may receive reimbursement for expenses incurred during their service, and perhaps a modest thank you gift for their service—but otherwise they receive no renumeration.

These directors play a vital role in crafting strategic direction in constructive partnership with senior management. They uphold the not-for-profit the purpose of the credit union, and establish the goals and vision regarding how to best serve the evolving needs of credit union members.[3]

These volunteers are average, everyday people, many with full-time jobs and families. They come from all walks of life; they may be doctors, teachers, plumbers, accountants, electricians, IT professionals, administrators, or any other profession. Since most don’t have a base in the financial services industry, they receive appropriate training to ensure that they execute their credit union duties properly.

Each credit union member gets one vote for the board, and generally any member in good standing over the age of 18 can run for the board. Board members should have the skills and knowledge to lead and manage. They give freely of their time to develop and enhance the services of their credit union.