Maintaining the Land: An Executive Benefits Plan Story

tractor cutting field
By Jen Jackson

3 minutes

Tend your executive benefit plans to help you retain leaders who know what they’re doing and why.

Sponsored by The Sheeter Group

We all know change is coming. What we don’t know is what that change is and when it’s going to happen.

I recently moved back to my family’s property in Georgia. My parents passed away in December of 2020 and as an only child, I became responsible for maintaining the land and house. Although my family has lived on the land for hundreds of years, I did not understand the importance of things like keeping the fields cut. I had not been on a tractor in years, so when the grass grew it was a low priority for me … until the mice moved into the house. Talk about an unexpected turn of events! It took about a month to get all the mice out and find someone to cut the fields. It became apparent that I either needed to sell the property or move in. I couldn’t just let things go and trust there wouldn’t be more issues. Someone needed to have an eye on things full time. So I moved.

Your executives know exactly what the small things are that you are not thinking of. Because of the knowledge your executives have, you will need to fill a big gap when they leave. Think of the mice!

You use executive benefit plans and supplemental employee retirement plans to make sure you keep continuity with your executive team. It is extremely important to know what you have in place. If the credit union’s service provider does not have their eye on things, things start falling through the cracks. Boards work hard to design and implement a plan, but plan work does not stop there. The plan’s success depends on ongoing administration and maintenance. Much like the fields, your executive benefit plans must be looked after.

Executive Benefits Plan Maintenance

At a minimum, it is important for your service provider to review the executive benefits plan with the credit union annually to ensure it is working as it should, both from a financial standpoint for the credit union and a value standpoint for the executive. If the finances are performing as projected but the executive does not understand the value of the benefit, the plan is not working.

In addition to the minimum level of service service, giving you a summary of the plan, you should expect your service provider to keep you up-to-date on any changes to regulations and the latest trends in the industry. If your service provider does not keep you abreast of what your peers are doing with executive benefits plans and make sure the original goal of the plan is still valid, the plan is not working.

The National Credit Union Administration says credit unions can depend on trusted providers that allow credit unions to accomplish strategic objectives. Your service provider works for you. Are you getting what you need from the relationship or have the mice started moving in?

Keep your executives focused on the credit union vision and not the overtures from another organization. You have invested a ton in these executives!

Jen Jackson is an EVP with The Sheeter Group, a CUES Supplier member based in Winter Garden, Florida. Jackson has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. She specializes in working with credit unions to design, implement and monitor executive benefit programs. The Sheeter Group is a leading provider of executive benefit plans designed to retain, recruit and assist credit unions with succession planning and leadership continuity.


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