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Bernie Klammer


Bernie Klammer "I have a passion for rural and community involvement and think I would be an asset to Servus's Board of Directors. I have a solid understanding of the impact of a credit union in our diverse community and a diverse financial background that would make me a respected director."

Statement of intent

A credit union member since the age of 12, I have a great understanding of the value and benefits of being part of a cooperative. I have a passion for rural and community involvement and think I would be a beneficial asset to the Servus Credit Union Board of Directors. I have been an agricultural producer for 47 years, actively involved with the dairy, chicken, beef and pork industries. I currently raise purebred registered Simmental cattle and farm cereal grains and oil seed, in addition to pulses, south of Vegreville on the family generational farm. With my agricultural background and experience, I have been exposed to various enterprises, enabling me to have a solid understanding of the benefit and impact of a credit union in our diverse community.

Having served on several boards and commissions related to business and agriculture, l have always taken an active role in developing policy and procedures. My experience translates into good governance, which is essential to board and business success. The knowledge I have gained from attending workshops and serving with multiple organizations has provided me with a diverse financial background that would enable me to be a respected director for Servus Credit Union.

Servus’s vision is “Servus Credit Union builds a better world – one member at a time.” As a director, what would you see as your most important contribution to achieving this vision?

As a rural member, the exposure I have to many peers allows me to spread the benefits of being a Servus member. Opportunities that are presented in many activities that go on in small town rural Alberta allows me personal contact with one person at a time. After explaining the benefits and service that Servus provides, it will be easy to convince them to be a member. My focus would be on members' expectations of service through support of community activities to build a stronger credit union, provincially, nationally and globally.

What distinguishes a credit union from the chartered banks?

The whole principle of a co-op is member owned/controlled and benefits are realized and shared amongst members. As a member, you can actively participate in the direction of your credit union. Credit unions are for member benefit and not shareholder returns! As members participate in their credit union, they realize the benefit of competitive fees and rates, friendly service, progressive products and worldwide banking access. Unlike chartered banks making big profits that are returned to shareholders and big salaries with bonuses paid to upper management. So to simply say: a member is not a customer! Members benefit! Lastly, members' deposits are 100% guaranteed and secure.

What are the key issues or challenges facing the financial services industry today and how could Servus deal with them?

In recent months, with consumer confidence building in our economy and the future opportunities for building and sustaining business, I think Servus recognizes the member is the most important asset we have. When members and businesses are facing challenges, Servus should have the foresight to adjust and adapt for uncertainty. Spreading loan portfolios over all sectors of business will help spread risks and exposure. Having a good mix of product terms and competitive rates will attract member investment and borrowings. For example, many Alberta small business entrepreneurs have diverse business opportunities and Servus, with a local focus, should be able to effectively adapt programs to match member goals. One stable and long-term sector is agriculture that Servus will expand into more. Agriculture is still a vibrant and successful driver of the world economy and Servus needs to be a bigger player.

What knowledge, skills and experience would you add to the collective board team to help Servus Credit Union into the future?

I have taken an interest, even in my younger years, and I have served on several boards, commissions, and community groups. My rural background, knowledge and experience of being a board member for non-profit and for-profit business have given me insight to build and strengthen these identities. My skills are reflected in the fact that I have and still serve as President or Vice-chair on multiple boards. I understand good board governance and the need for policy and procedures to make a sustainable, strong and functioning board. An effective board is made up of members that bring unique aspects and strengths to the table. I have a passion for good governance, strong communication skills and, most importantly, rural knowledge and agricultural business experience.

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