The annual members’ meeting is a legal requirement for all credit unions. I recently was emailed this Notice from my credit union:
We are conducting the 2022 Annual Meeting by Electronic Transmission as provided in Section 411 of the Amended and Restated Bylaws of XXXX Credit Union. . .The Annual Meeting will be hosted by video conference on April XX, 2022, at 5pm. Members can register by submitting an email request to email@example.com.
Questions will not be taken during the Annual Meeting, so please submit any questions that you have in advance along with your attendance request. Answers will be provided during the virtual meeting.
Please note that there is no new business to discuss. The only matter requiring a vote of the members in attendance is approval of the 2021 Annual Meeting minutes. The Directors nominated (4) will be approved by acclamation of the Board of Directors as provided by the Bylaws.
The Question I Submitted
Before my question I would offer brief context:
We are seeing people’s belief in democracy tested daily at home and overseas.
This one-person, one-vote governance model is the foundation for all credit unions. For coops, it gives every member a voice, an important factor in building a community of common effort.
Democracy is a fragile system both for countries and credit unions. It requires continual renewal and participation.
The credit union is a strong financial performer. But no institution, especially a credit union, survives because of financial strength alone.
The foundation of every credit union is the relationships with its member-owners. The process of replacing the members’ voting role with self-appointed directors undermines democratic participation and our unique source of resilience.
My Question: Will the board commit to having open nominations going forward to seek qualified candidates from the over 400,000 members, beyond the number of board openings, so members may make their voice heard by choosing who should lead the credit union? This would be a vital means of demonstrating the credit union’s statement in the Notice: We’re in this together
2 Replies to “A Question Sent to My Credit Union’s Annual Meeting”
Trust in the democratic process starts at the local level. I’m a member of nine credit unions, including some with fewer than 5,000 members – yet every year when I look at volunteering at the Board or supervisory level, the process is so complicated that I just shrug, and volunteer elsewhere.
And yet, participation in governance is the feature that best defines our brand.
If more of us got active in shaping our community’s economic development opportunities, maybe we’d feel more empowered in our governance of our cities, states, and nations.
Spot On! This is NOT the exception to the rule. This is the rule. Incumbent directors serve on the nominating committee. The incumbent directors place incumbent directors on the ballot. There is no contest. There are no other candidates. The incumbent board of directors control the chessboard. Pay attention to the racial makeup of these boards. Few are representative of the racial make up of the membership they represent. It defines the word: incest! They have been drinking the CEO’s Kool-Aid for too long. Together, they think alike. Together, they rubber-stamp the board report. Together, they complete expense reimbursement reports after traveling to expensive conferences and eating and drinking to excess. Call it gaming the system. And when directors resign it is mid-term so a replacement can be appointed. Again, no election. Again, no contest. Then they run as an incumbent. It’s a monopoly. They stole the play book from Russia. The book is called: RIGGED ELECTIONS. No votes to count when there is no contest. They call it a democratic “member owned, one person one vote.” It mirrors a dictatorship controlled by the credit union CEO as the CEO manages the puppets on the board. Notice: No term limits. Notice: Average age of incumbent director. Old directors sitting on boards beyond their expiration date. And notice the outcome of so many poorly performing credit unions. What is the relevance of one person one vote when members never get the option to exercise it? And so the take away: Poorly performing credit unions can continue to experience more of the same. And the CEO’s continue to get greased. And directors continue to complete their credit union paid expense reimbursement conference travel, drink and dining reports. Not a bad gig if you can get it. No wonder once appointed these directors don’t leave. Why walk away from free travel, drinking and eating? They are bought and paid for. We have some of the best directors and CEO’s that money can buy.