Board directors in the future will need to set their sights on strategy, technology, and—most importantly—the member.
“Look to your CEO for their vision of the credit union’s future,” says Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises. “What’s required? What’s missing? What must change?
“Focus on industry changes and shifts in consumer preferences,” he adds. “Watch developments in retail as leading indicators of the member experience.”
Rendel says the acronym “PFI,” or primary financial institution, may change to mean “present financial institution.”
Navigating this new terrain will require directors to understand the changes in financial services and retail businesses, Rendel says, and accept that member service is “shifting toward technology over face-to-face.”
Boards’ duties “will be vastly different, while at the same time they will remain the same in many ways,” says Eric Day, director at $1.4 billion asset Credit Union of Southern California in Anaheim. “We’ll continue to make member-owners the main focus and ensure the credit union philosophy of people helping people continues.
“Regulators’ expectations for us will continue to increase,” he adds. “We’ll need to be more knowledgeable in the ever-increasingly complexities of running the credit union.”
This includes technology and strategic thinking. “A phrase I recently heard is, ‘the race toward technology is a race to indifferentiation,’” says Paul Sippl, board member at $1.6 billion asset Fox Communities Credit Union in Appleton, Wis. “If we want to remain relevant with all the disruptors entering our space, we need to find the niche that keeps our organization unique.”
“Be aware of the strategic options available to the organization, and be quick to adapt or respond to change from disruptions caused by technologies, new types of competitors, increased demand for transparency, and economic conditions,” says Nhu Yeargin, director at $2.6 billion asset Langley Federal Credit Union in Newport News, Va. “Sharpen your technological expertise on topics such as blockchain, cybersecurity, and opportunities for process improvements through analytics and artificial intelligence.”