These tools can help credit unions of all sizes modernize governance.
Over the past two decades, board portals have become accessible and affordable to the entire spectrum of credit unions.
“I’m a big fan of board portals,” says Michael Daigneault, CCD, CEO and founder of CUES strategic provider Quantum Governance, L3C, Herdon, Virginia. “I think every credit union should have one, and one of the great things about them is they’re scalable. There are low-cost solutions, mid-level-cost solutions and high-level cost solutions.”
Ian Warner concurs that the best board portals provide solutions for credit unions of all sizes. “Our value proposition is good governance, made simple and affordable,” reports Warner, CEO of CUES’ strategic provider for board portals, Aprio, Vancouver, British Columbia. “Our product is scalable to the size and sophistication of your board, and we have different price points to suit a variety of budgets and needs.”
Aprio’s board portal solution is a software-as-a-service model, hosted on a cloud and licensed on a subscription basis. Such arrangements have become increasingly popular in recent years, Warner explains, because of benefits like faster implementation, lower upfront investment and minimal IT dependency in addition to the aforementioned scalability.
The Aprio portal has many features to facilitate board governance, including easy-to-use tools for adding or removing directors and committees, the ability to segment information by full board and committees, director profiles with goals for the year and complete functionality for meeting preparation.
“The portal also gives credit unions the ability to conduct polls or surveys, which is a great way to facilitate board self-assessments and even CEO assessments,” Warner adds.
In addition, board members enjoy the ability to easily make and track annotations in their paperless board packets. “Directors typically find this to be a much better alternative than scribbling crib notes on a paper document and later being unable to read their handwriting,” Warner observes.
Yet another capability allows directors to keep track of board-related expenses. “This may seem like a small thing, but directors find it helpful for accurate reimbursement of their expenses,” Warner observes. “We’ve simplified the process, making it trackable and traceable, and all of the information is secure within the portal.”
He notes that having a board portal may help with board recruitment and, therefore, succession planning.
During recruitment, potential board members are now asking questions like, “How do you distribute board materials?” and “How do you support communication between meetings, ensuring dialog stays transparent between all directors?” Having board portal technology lets credit union board recruiter answer, “We have convenient, secure and transparent communication fully in place, including mobile apps that make board materials accessible from anywhere directors may be travelling.”
Customers also have said the Aprio board portal helps new recruits get up to speed faster, which helps them contribute quickly to the board and reduces the risk of losing them in the first year. The portal also can reduce the work of the board administrator in onboarding.
“The use of a board portal helps credit unions attract new board members, onboard them more efficiently and keep them engaged,” Warner says. “These are among the things that can be accomplished at a high level to make the process of modernizing credit union governance easier.”
Based in Missouri, Diane Franklin is a longtime contributor to Credit Union Management magazine.