|"I have extensive experience in all aspects of credit union operations and a solid knowledge of the governance role, the regulatory environment and the competitive environment facing credit unions. I am passionate about credit unions and confident I have the knowledge, skills and commitment to contribute to Servus's continuing success."|
Statement of intent
My name is Rene George, a retired credit union professional with over 40 years of experience. I have worked in 3 provinces, several credit unions and also as a consultant with Credit Union Central of Saskatchewan. I have extensive experience in all aspects of credit union operations and a solid knowledge of the governance role, the regulatory environment and the competitive environment facing credit unions.
In the span of my career, I have seen many changes and faced many challenges. Some of these challenges included economic downturns, credit union amalgamations, regulatory changes, and technological changes to name a few. Change no doubt presents challenges but more importantly it presents opportunities. Key strengths that I bring to the table are an open mind and strong co-operative values. We all know that change is constant so we must always be prepared to adapt in order to stay abreast with our members' needs. I am passionate about credit unions and am confident that I have the knowledge, skills and commitment to contribute to Servus Credit Union's continuing success.
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?
In order to fulfill its mission Servus Credit Union needs to provide services that are competitively priced, delivered in a convenient manner and that meet the needs of our membership. The credit union also needs to be a responsible and supportive corporate citizen of the communities it serves. It is incumbent upon the Board of Directors to hold management accountable for having effective processes in place that measure member satisfaction, research emerging trends and to ensure that strategies are developed to meet them. The board must be actively engaged in the strategic planning process and to monitor budgets and business plans to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to lead the credit union into the future.
What distinguishes a credit union from the chartered banks?
A credit union is owned by the members it serves. All members have a say in the affairs of the credit union through the board of directors. All members in good standing have the opportunity to run for the board of directors. Each member has an equal vote in credit union elections and at membership meetings. Credit union members share in the success of the credit union either in the form of patronage payments, additional services or both. Credit unions also support the communities in which they operate, which is another way of profit distribution and enriching their members' lives. Other organizations use the term "members" to refer to groups of customers, but the credit union/co-operative model is the only one that is actually owned by its members.
What are the key issues or challenges facing the financial services industry today and how could Servus deal with them?
There are several issues facing the financial services industry at this time. The economic uncertainty, coupled with high consumer debt levels, is certainly top of mind. As a credit union we have to work closely with our members, especially those who are carrying substantial debt loads, and provide them with sound advice and options to improve their financial situation. Another major risk facing the financial service industry is the volatile interest rate environment. As margins decrease, credit unions are forced to closely analyze all overhead costs while still maintaining high standards of member service. Credit union directors need to be aware of the trade-off management must make in budgets and business plans to balance these needs. Other significant challenges are cyber threats, low commodity prices and regulatory risks, to name a few. The board has to ensure that a robust risk management process is in place, which includes a timely and comprehensive reporting process.
What knowledge, skills and experience would you add to the collective board team to help Servus Credit Union into the future?
In my 40 years of employment with the credit union system, I have gained experience in all facets of credit union operations and have worked closely with many boards in several credit unions across 3 provinces. In that time I have seen many changes and challenging times. During my career, I spent 6 years working in a consulting role with Credit Union Central of Saskatchewan. This role provided me with exposure to a variety of scenarios that I may not have experienced otherwise. I worked extensively with credit union amalgamations, director training and board evaluations, leading strategic planning, to name a few. Over the years I have been a board member on several different credit union and community organizations. I am a team player and very open to the opinions of others. I am committed to continuous learning and I have the time and commitment to dedicate to this very important role.