Stacie VanDenBerghe

‘Trust, but verify’

Supervisory committee looks out for credit union’s safety and soundness in watchdog role.

December 12, 2019

It’s not enough to know employees are doing their jobs. Follow that up by documenting the jobs are being done and policies and procedures are being followed.

“The mantra for credit unions and the goal for supervisory committees is ‘we trust, but verify,’” says Stacie VanDenBerghe, CEO of CU Innovate.

VanDenBerghe gave the closing keynote address at the 2019 CUNA Supervisory Committee and Internal Audit Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Think about what’s in the best interest of the credit union and treat it as though it were your own business, VanDenBerghe says. Ensure the appropriate policies, procedures, and internal controls are in place and commit to providing the oversight that they are being followed in order to provide safety and soundness for the organization and members’ assets.

“Supervisory committees are meant to be the watchdog of the credit union,” VanDenBerghe says, and are tasked with making sure established policies and procedures are followed and nothing unethical is happening in the credit union.

But VanDenBerghe says supervisory committee members must be more assertive and less passive when carrying out their role. They must take the initiative and educate themselves on their role and current trends in the industry, and collaborate with others—whether it’s other credit unions or outside vendors—to get tasks accomplished.

“You can’t be caught sleeping behind the wheel,” she says.

The supervisory committee is tasked with asking tough questions. And once the NCUA examiners have filed their findings and recommendations after completing their exam, the committee is responsible for following up with management to ensure remediation takes place.

“It isn’t that you do exactly what the examiner says,” VanDenBerghe says, “it’s that you do something. If you don’t, that’s a red flag.”