Executive Search for Credit Unions

Credit unions are unique in that they work differently from traditional banks yet provide similar services to customers as the banks and financial institutions. People form these unions for the benefit of their members. But like any other company, a successful credit union requires the right executive leadership. So if you’re looking for an executive search firm for credit unions, you’re at the right place. 

Executive Search for Credit Unions

Ghost Mountain understands the unique needs of a credit union as a non-profit entity with a focus on its members and community. Unlike banks, credit unions are not strictly profit-driven but aim for the financial well-being of their members. 

Many recruiters don’t fully grasp this distinction’s impact and are therefore not taking the right route when hunting for the next executive for a credit union. 


Understanding Executive Search for Credit Union Needs

Even though most of the services provided by credit unions are essentially banking related, they are not for-profit like banks. Banks do have customers they care about, but their primary goal is to benefit their stakeholders, which aren’t necessarily their customers.

Nevertheless, credit unions are financial institutes, regardless of their size. Balancing the nature of this business with the community-serving, non-profit aspect is as unique as it gets. 

Naturally, credit unions require executives, especially finance executives, who can strike a balance between profitability and servicing members. One without the other is not enough for a credit union to fulfill its purpose and succeed. 


Reporting Requirements

Unlike banks, credit unions are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Instead, they are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

All federally insured credit unions must file quarterly listings of summarized accounts (call reports) with the NCUA. 

The board of directors and senior financial executives are responsible for the call reports and the system for producing them promptly. More importantly, they must comply with the regulatory requirements of NCUA, which are specific to credit unions, and unlike those of the FDIC, which are specific to banks. The CFO must sign the call reports. 

Call reports are important to understand the health of a credit union. It’s not just important from a compliance point but also from an analytical point. 

In addition, there are other reporting requirements for credit unions from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Since credit unions are exempt from paying corporate income tax as a nonprofit, their tax returns differ from those of a bank. 

Understandably, a credit union would want to hire a finance executive who understands these unique accounting and reporting requirements and their importance for transparently running the credit union. 


Attributes of the Right CFO for a Credit Union Executive Search

So what should you look for in a CFO for a credit union? College degrees and years of experience may not be enough. For credit union CFOs, the following attributes are necessary:


They Focus on Member Needs

Someone trained to rake in the most profits for the top stakeholders probably wouldn’t uphold the same values as someone trained to value all stakeholders. In the case of credit unions, all members are stakeholders, so a CFO must consider all members, regardless of their contribution. 

If something is not working out for the corporation, especially its members, the CFO should have the leadership ability to make a change. 

While financial profits per se may not drive credit unions, they are driven by the profitability of their members. So in a way, they should be able to focus on financial profits but not at the members’ expense. 


They Should Be a Great Communicator

For credit union CFOs, there’s more communication needed than for the CFO of a bank. For example, a bank’s CFO may interact with a select number of employees and shareholders. However, a credit union’s CFO may have to communicate with all credit union members. 

So to sell a strategy or move, they should have effective communication skills. A credit union’s CFO shouldn’t just be the “numbers guy” but a well-rounded executive with exceptional soft skills. 


They Should Be Tech-Savvy

Credit unions don’t have the same level of technological integration as commercial banks. This is something even bigger credit unions have struggled with. But it’s even more of a challenge for smaller credit unions. 

So any credit union looking to change would want a finance executive who is well-versed in technology and more welcoming toward adopting the latest in financial technology. Any experience in FinTech should be considered a plus in this context. 


They Should Be Responsible For Financial Decisions

Even though the NCUA and credit unions insure credit union deposits are non-profit, the CFO of a credit union should be fiscally responsible. They may be working for a non-profit, but should still strive to increase profits for the members without losing touch with the core principles and needs of those members. 

After all, credit unions are there for the greater financial good of their members. So an ambitious CFO with big plans and solid ideas is likely to turn things around, especially for a struggling union. 


They Should Value Transparency

Transparency is critical in credit unions, whether it’s reporting to the authorities or communicating with the members. A CFO who values transparency would ensure the credit union’s expenses, projects, and dealings don’t hide anything from the members. 

A credit union CFO should know that credit unions are cooperatives where everyone has a say. So, they may be in a leadership position, but they cannot make decisions independently. 


How Ghost Mountain Can Help With Executive Search for Credit Unions

With its own staff having experience working in and with credit unions, Ghost Mountain is the best executive search firm for credit unions. In addition, we understand how credit unions function and how their needs differ from other types of financial institutions. Consequently, we understand what qualities and attributes make the ideal finance executive to oversee a credit union’s finances. 

The Ghost Mountain Retained Search is ideal for credit unions looking for a CFO to take the helm and take their cooperative to financial success. With years of collective expertise, especially in credit unions, we can make hiring your next CFO seamless and cost-effective. 

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