I attended my first credit union 2023 annual meeting recently. No, I was not a member. However the credit union published its Zoom link. Anyone could follow along with the hundreds of members who attended in person.
The agenda was informative. The CEO and three senior staff made presentations-all specific updates on future projects. This formal meeting had apparently been preceded by an all-hands gathering soliciting open dialogue. Questions were asked from the members, but few spoke up.
It was a positive experience. Well organized. Direct communication that was respectful of the owners. The post-covid combination of in-person and virtual participation expands the opportunities for real member engagement and owner feedback.
But that is not every credit union’s plan.
The Required Meeting Notice
Yesterday I received an email with the Notice of my credit union’s 2023 Annual Meeting. It opened with these words:
We are conducting the 2023 Annual meeting by Electronic Transmission as provided in Section 411 of the Amended and Restated Bylaws of the Credit Union effective April 28, 2017 (the “Bylaws”). The Annual Meeting will be hosted by video conference on April 28, 2023, at 5pm PT. 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.
The Notice then listed the material that could be downloaded in advance, such as the 2022 Annual Report, prior minutes and concluded:
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 2022 Annual Meeting minutes. The four Directors nominated will be approved by acclamation of the Board of Directors as provided by the Bylaws.
The Notice ended with a brief economic update from the CEO headed:
We’re in this together
The CEO’s comments summarized important market events in 2022 and the outlook for the coming year. The message ends with these words:
Whatever 2023 brings, the credit union has the financial stability to continue supporting our members and helping them deal with whatever financial challenges come.
A Member “Woodstock” Celebration
Next month I was invited to a smaller credit union’s annual meeting to make very brief remarks to members. To have an idea what might be appropriate I asked the CEO about the event.
It will be in the evening with dinner at the local Holiday Inn banquet room. All members invited. We will introduce new board members and go through the business. There will be a local speaker who works at a non-profit in the areas we serve. We hope you can give your thoughts about the future role our credit union can play in members’ lives and community. You have 15 minutes. Expected attendance of 100-150.
We discussed the idea of brief video interviews with members to ask about their credit union experiences. The CEO had done this at a prior credit union’s annual meeting with the question, if we were in a court of law, would anyone be willing to testify on the impact the credit union made on them? Member after member told their story.
That is now being planned for use in future member communications.
Prior to the event, the CEO asked if I could visit the credit union, see the local community and some of the organizations with which they partner. And have dinner with the Board. I jumped at the chance.
The CEO expects to retire next year. He has a transition plan underway and wants to affirm his belief in the credit union’s essential role and its vital future.
This is the kind of event that gets me excited. I can’t wait to see his team, the credit union’s activities and hear the member stories. A brief “Woodstock event” for the cooperative’s member-owners. And for me.