Largest Ever Credit Union Board Election Closes October 3

The 2.6 million members of the State Employees Credit Union, North Carolina are voting among six candidates to fill three board vacancies.
This is the highest number of potential voters for an election ever conducted in a credit union.
Online voting ends October 3rd.  In person voting can take place at the October 10th Annual Meeting where the election outcome will be announced.
While this event is vital to SECU’s future, it could also impact every credit union in America.   The public perception  of cooperative member-owner governance could be transformed by this example.  Here’s why:
The second largest credit union has implemented a process that provides every member a chance to vote.  There is no excuse for any credit union not holding a franchise for director elections in the future in which all members can participate, not just those few able to show up at the annual meeting.
The current practice of election of directors by “acclamation” at the required annual meeting with few members in attendance, should become the exception, not the rule.
What does democratic oversight mean if members are never able to vote?
The member are engaged in their ownership role,  a unique but rarely practiced aspect of cooperative design.  They are transformed into more than customers. See letter which follows.
The directors are learning the importance of communication with members.   Leadership is more than closed monthly meetings, private decision making and a scripted annual meeting.
Directors are the owners’ representatives. They are not remote “trustees” hand picked by their predecessors based on personal relationships or supposed expertise.
Directors in turn must respect members’ ownership role  with transparency and continual dialogue.
The cooperative design is on public display.  The North Carolina press is following the story.  This election is a precedent for members everywhere who want to see more responsive leadership from their Boards.

A Member Explains His Vote

Here is how one member feels about this election in a letter to the local newspaper,  Oxford Ledger:

North Carolina’s most Impactful election this fall will surprise you.

The most crucial upcoming election in North Carolina isn’t for a governmental position but for a seat on the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Board. For over 85 years, SECU has provided affordable financial services to the state’s employees, teachers, and their families, applying consistent low interest rates on mortgages, loans, and credit cards for all members, regardless of their economic background.

Unfortunately, the current SECU Board, composed mainly of politically influential former state employees, has strayed from this equitable approach. They’ve begun charging higher interest rates to middle-class and lower-income members while offering lower rates to wealthier individuals.

This shift appears to prioritize the board’s interests over serving the hundreds of thousands of Highway Patrolmen, Correctional Officers, Department of Transportation workers, and Teachers that SECU was originally established to assist.

Moreover, the current board has reduced services, increased interest rates for most members, and neglected to raise rates for savings accounts.

They’ve also altered the election rules and bylaws to maintain their power and hinder potential opposition.

To rectify this situation, it’s crucial to vote for the three self-nominated candidates who advocate for restoring SECU to its historical mission. The board’s changes threaten to transform SECU into a conventional bank that favors the wealthy, undermining its original purpose.

Voting for these candidates is vital for safeguarding our Credit Union. Visit before October 3, 2023, to support this cause and ensure SECU serves its members as it was intended.

Camden Carver

Member/Owner of the North Carolina State Employee’s Credit Union

Former Employee

This event matters, so tune in on October 10 to learn the results.  Unfortunately at this point SECU ended the previous practice of a live virtual broadcast of the annual meeting-not a positive sign when a widespread concern of members was open communication and transparency.

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