In Partnership with Credit Union National Association
Go to main content
SOC - FacebookSOC - TwitterSOC - LinkedINSOC - YouTube
Michigan Credit Union League
MCUL > InfoSight Home > Board Responsibilities > Board Structure and Officer Duties

Board Structure and Officer Duties: Summary
Last Reviewed: October, 2017

Executive officers include the chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer. The latter two are sometimes combined into one office.

The duties of each position are summarized below* as specified by the standard bylaws for federal credit unions, followed by a short job description. State chartered credit unions can generally use these guidelines as well. Position descriptions should be adapted to suit each particular credit union. A credit union should review its own credit union's bylaws to check for differences or additional requirements.

The Chair

The chair acts as the credit union's leader in decision making, problem solving, and coordinating board actions with members and staff. The board's chair articulates the vision of the credit union and motivates the board and staff to find new and better ways to serve the membership.

The chair has a special relationship with the CEO that the other directors typically do not have. The chair is the director who should be most available to the CEO and the one on the board to whom the CEO is usually closest. The CEO may seek advice from the chair when its not practical to ask the entire board.

The chair has several important leadership functions. The chair:

  • Sets the tone of meetings, of relationships, and of communications. As leader of the board and the credit union, the chair sets the standard of conduct. He or she is sometimes the actual public spokesperson for the credit union.
  • Leads meetings of the board and membership. The chair works with management to set the agenda. He or she makes sure that board meetings are inclusive and that everyone is heard and participates in discussions and decision-making.
  • Builds consensus. The chair leads and summarizes discussions that lead to votes. The chair casts a deciding vote if there is a tie. (Often, though, the board is better served if the chair can lead it to a consensus that is greater than a one-vote majority.) If necessary, the chair may defer action on a matter upon which the board cannot reach consensus.
  • Makes sure the board acts in a timely manner, not allowing it to postpone tough decisions.

Sample Position Description:

CHAIR - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

To act as the chief elected official of the credit union. Preside at all meetings of the board and of the membership.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Leadership skills, including consensus building, mediation, and meeting management.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

Lead all meetings of the board and of the membership.
Assign directors and others to board committees. Initiate the formation of an executive committee, if desired or required by law.
In a smaller credit union, the chair may countersign notes, checks, drafts, and other orders for disbursement of funds.
Perform such other duties as are customary for the chair or which he/she may be directed to perform by resolution of the board. Such other duties, however, must not be inconsistent with credit union laws and regulations, or with the credit unions bylaws.

Return to Top

The Vice Chair
The position of vice chair is often used as a training platform for the position of chair. Some credit unions structure officer elections so that the current year's vice chair automatically becomes the next year's chair. In some credit unions, the vice chair is traditionally given certain committee assignments, such as the investment or finance committee, for example. The vice chair leads board and other meetings in the absence of the chair.

Sample Position Description:

VICE CHAIR - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

To exercise all duties of the elected chair when the chair is absent or unable to perform them. (If there is more than one vice chair, rank should be attached to each title- first vice chair, and so on).

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Leadership skills, including consensus building, mediation, and meeting management.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

Exercise the duties of the elected chair when that person is unable to perform them.
Perform other duties as assigned.

Return to Top

The Secretary

Credit unions are required to keep accurate, adequate records of all official actions. The secretary handles these tasks for board and membership meetings. He or she sees that minutes are kept and notices of meetings are properly sent. The secretary is responsible for seeing that legal actions the board must take are properly documented, for example, seeing that papers requiring officer signatures are completed and submitted. At a larger credit union, the actual performance of these tasks may be delegated to staff. At some credit unions, this position may be combined with the Treasurer position.

Sample Position Description:

SECRETARY - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

To oversee the preparation, completion, and safekeeping of records of all meetings of the membership and of the board. Record (or supervise recording) of necessary legal documents.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Ability to organize and manage paperwork.
Ability to take and write minutes of meetings.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

Prepare and maintain full and complete records of all meetings of the membership and of the board within seven days after each meeting.
Send full and complete copies of all board minutes to the supervisory committee.
Prepare and send out notices of meetings to be held.
Perform other duties as assigned.

Return to Top

The Treasurer

The treasurer has the authority to access the credit union's business accounts. If the credit union has a staff, primary responsibility for actual, physical custody of assets is usually delegated to it. Assets include funds, important papers, and other items of value.

 

Federal law specifies that monthly financial statements must be prepared within twenty days of the end of the month. Copies should go to the directors and be posted in the credit union office(s), including a summary total/synopsis of delinquent loans.

If the treasurer manages the credit union, he or she has the right to hire and fire people for staff positions authorized by the board. As keeper of financial records in smaller credit unions, the treasurer must be thoroughly familiar with the details of the financial statements and present the report at the monthly board meeting. At some credit unions, this position may be combined with Secretary.

Sample Position Description:

TREASURER/FINANCIAL OFFICER - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

To act as the chief financial officer of the credit union. Manage the credit union if the board has not hired a chief executive officer.

KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

Ability to prepare and keep financial records.
Ability to understand financial concepts.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

Have custody of credit union assets; sign notes, drafts, and orders for disbursement of credit union funds; maintain records of all assets and liabilities of the credit union; prepare monthly financial statements and post them.
Prepare and forward required reports to regulatory agencies.
Perform the duties of the chief executive officer if the board has not hired one from outside the board.
Perform other duties as assigned.

Return to Top


* Source: CUNA's Credit Union Board of Directors Handbook

Go to main navigation
Especially For: