Thanks for sharing John.
1. I believe our governance is viewed as legitimate. We engage a group of Owner-members to be more deeply involved with the governance of our credit union which gives them greater knowledge and influence. It’s one way we can better know what our Owners want and need by hearing their representative voices on a regular basis. These representatives are very good at challenging the board and management because they are better informed than an Owner who just comes to us for their banking business.
2. Our Owner Representative structure helps us build legitimacy. The Board and management stay engaged with our Owner Representatives throughout the year. As an organization we are also very good at responding to feedback from Owners. Last year we made the decision to change the way one of our branches operates; changing it from a full-service location to “by appointment only” for meetings. Before making that decision though, we engaged with a group of local stakeholders including Owner Representatives and community members. The decision wasn’t popular because that small community is seeing a significant decline in both population and businesses. Following our announcement and at the request of our Owners members of the Board and management held a town hall session to further discuss the issue. It has been a year since the change and while some Owners have moved their accounts to another financial institution, most have remained with the credit union and the amount of business they are doing with us has increased. They are finding that they can receive the same or better value at the branches they now frequent.