So why do we vote, anyway?

So, last time we discussed what the board does. Hopefully, you came away with a sense of why a strong board might be important to you. But many ask why they get to vote anyway. It seems odd to most that a board of directors would be elected, but this is a key principle of a Credit Union.

A credit union is known in many parts of the world as a financial co-operative. It is a company that offers financial products and services, but rather than a standard corporation, it is structured as a cooperative. A cooperative is jointly owned by all its members and generally only conducts business with its members.

The ownership is an important part of a credit union because it means each and every member is a shareholder in the company. A standard bank, for example, is publicly traded and has many shareholders around the world, few of whom actually buy its services. This divide between shareholders and customers often causes a conflict between being profitable and doing the best for their customers. In a credit union the customers and the shareholders are one and the same and the goals are aligned.

While ownership is one key principle of cooperatives, democratic control is another. What this means is that the shareholders, each and every customer, each get a vote to determine who sits on the Board of Directors. Governance of the credit union is representational, and as we mentioned last time, the board represents the members as they govern the organization.

So why do you get to vote? Because you own the credit union. Because we need your voice at the table. And because you need to pick the candidates you feel best represent what you want your credit union to do and how it should do it.

'Till next time, up up and away!

This article is part of a series. You can read the whole series at http://twentyfivetwenty.ca.