So what's my one vote going to do?

Well here’s the thing, in Credit Union elections, people don’t vote. In the last provincial election 57% of eligible voters turned out…only slightly more than half. In the last federal election, 68.5% of eligible voters turned out. In the last Servus election, guess how many voted? Go ahead, guess. I’ll wait. Did you guess 20%? Nope. 5%? Nope. In the last general board election for Servus only 0.7% showed up to vote. 2855 members of a possible 390,000 exercised their democratic rights. If you voted in the provincial election (and you did right? ... more ...

But what if I don't have anyone running in my town/neighborhood/half of the province?

An excuse I’m often given for why people don’t vote in the Servus Board of Director elections is that “There was no one running in my [insert geographic region here]”. This is an understandable reaction given how our provincial and federal elections work. Where are the ridings? Who represents my interests? Who will speak for my urban/rural perspective? The answer is: everybody. At Servus, directors are elected as at-large directors. At-large is defined on Wikipedia as: A designation for members of a governing body who are elected or appointed to represent the whole membership of the body, ... more ...

How do I know any of these people are qualified?

I get a lot of comments from people who tell me that they don’t vote because they don’t know if the person they are voting for would do a good job. That’s a fair worry, but let me tell you a secret: Every on of the candidates would be great! How do I know? Well, the board is just as worried about having a bad director in their midst as you are. Probably more so. And so we’ve put a rigorous process in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. Once all the nominations come ... more ...

But isn't it just an old boys' club?

The average number of male board members in Credit Unions across Canada is 70% –Servus has 58%. The longest continuously serving Servus board member is a woman. The average tenure of the board is only 8 years (including predecessor credit unions) despite no formal limits. The average percentage of directors aged 35-65 in Canada is 71% – Servus is 83%. So Servus is, statistically, more female, younger and turns over faster than most Credit Unions in the country. But more importantly is the Servus board’s proactive approach to succession and training. At Servus, we regularly look at what are the ... more ...

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 ... more ...