Could you become a board member of a credit union?
Would you consider becoming a board member of a credit union?
Not only will your support benefit the community, but it can help develop skills and even boost your CV for future career development.
Credit union board members play an invaluable role not just in development of the financial cooperative itself, but to the wider community that it serves.
Credit unions across Wales are regularly looking for board members who can represent the diversity of the communities they serve.
As ethical loans and savings providers, the voluntary support of Board Members is essential. Anyone who joins a credit union can stand as a volunteer board member in the AGM.
Their purpose is to steer the strategic development of the organisation and ensure it is run in the interests of its members.
Dragonsavers board member Eirlys Emery volunteered after seeing people in her own community being exploited by payday lenders and loan sharks.
The retired South Wales Probation Service training manager had worked for almost 40 years across the valleys region before joining a Welsh charity that trained people to work with substance misuse victims. It was this level of knowledge that made her an ideal candidate to become a board member.
She said: “Initially I was encouraged to join through a friend of mine who thought that my experience in HR, management and recruitment would be beneficial to the credit union cause.
“What fundamentally appealed to me was the idea of ‘community’ and how credit unions bring people together to save and borrow at a reasonable and not extortionate rate.
“Credit unions give people the opportunity to save and borrow safely which I felt was important because I had witnessed how the most vulnerable in society were being exploited by loan sharks.
“As a practical and sustainable community-based way of saving and borrowing, it had values that were ingrained in me, the most important being that fairness is paramount.”
Eirlys, who lives in Treharris, saw the credit union as an opportunity to develop new skills, make new friends and remain active in retirement.
“It’s good fun, you learn a lot and it keeps you young,” she added. “I wanted to be actively involved with people of all ages and the board provides an excellent mix of people with different experiences who come together to support a truly good cause.”
Board members must be aged 18 or over and are already a member of the credit union. They will usually undergo training and induction for the role
By attending regular meetings, board members contribute in the decision-making process and collectively ensure the credit union complies with its legal obligations.
In some cases, they may join sub-committees or working groups if a particular topic interests them and matches their skills.
Leanne Herberg, Chief Executive of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union explained: “The value board members bring to credit unions is enormous – we benefit from the expertise of a diverse range of people with various expertise such as finance, ICT, governance, HR, marketing and law using their skills to benefit their communities by volunteering with us.
“As ethical cooperatives, it’s also important to us that we have a good mix of directors that reflects the diversity of our membership, so are always keen to receive applications from those who are typically under-represented on Boards, such as younger people, women and BMEs.
“Board members play an invaluable role and are a lifeblood of the organisation’s ongoing development and success.
“We encourage more people to consider sharing their expertise – collectively we can make a genuine difference to peoples’ lives in the communities where we live and work. This makes volunteering at a credit union an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience.”
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a board member, contact your nearest credit union or email.