WASHINGTON (12/16/08)—National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) board member Gigi Hyland told an audience of credit union volunteers recently that while their “jobs” are tougher than ever, they are also more critical to the success of the credit union system. “As volunteers, you are charged with assuring that the spirit of ‘people helping people’ continues,” Hyland said at last week’s Credit Union Executive Society’s Directors Conference in Palm Desert, Calif. Hyland said the role of volunteer requires an individual to “be active, informed, knowledgeable, visionary, and constantly challenge and question management’s assumptions.” “You are your institution’s first line of defense in risk management. These turbulent economic times require the utmost vigilance on the part of the regulator and the regulated. These times also require innovation,” she said. Regarding innovation, Hyland urged volunteers to look at:
* The larger credit union system to seek ways to cooperate and leverage resources, and utilizing capital wisely to weather the current turbulent economic climate; * Understanding your current field of membership, its diversity and making sure that your board and staff look like your membership and are responding to what your members’ need; and * Recognizing that now is not the time to cut back on marketing or member services.
“As I stated earlier, despite the challenges, this is a time of tremendous opportunity for credit unions – a time to continue to do what you do best – serve your members and meet their needs in a manner that is safe and sound,” Hyland said.