Diversity Is a Focus for Washington’s State-Chartered Credit Unions

“As the credit union changes, the board members need to change.” That was the message shared by Don Clark, CEO of Sound Credit Union, at the annual National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) Executive Forum in July. Sound Credit Union CEO Clark was joined by Richard Romero, CEO of Seattle Credit Union, to discuss the importance of having diverse boards.

The topic of board diversity was chosen by Amy B. Hunter, DFI’s Director of Credit Unions, after attending a breakout session at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference about diversity and after seeing the chart below about how each generation is becoming more diverse.

Diversity Chart

“Diversity in the workplace is a priority at DFI and in the Division of Credit Unions. I was grateful that Richard and Don were so willing to share their experiences with their fellow CEO’s about the importance of diversity of board members,” DFI Director of Credit Unions Amy Hunter said.

Our state’s credit unions invest time and resources to look at skill sets, demographics, and personality profiles of board members. The credit union industry is focusing on board governance, specifically diversification among board members.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), our federal partner, is also focusing on diversity. The NCUA held its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit in November. Attendees shared best practices, addressed challenges in advancing diversity, and support for the industry in its efforts.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be sources of enrichment, strength, and unity, not division”, NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood told summit attendees.

Chairman Hood also told summit attendees he is proud to be the first African-American head of a federal financial regulatory agency.

NCUA offers a self-assessment tool for building diversity and inclusion. This data is used to monitor progress and trends in credit union diversity-related activities and provides areas where additional guidance and resources might be helpful.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Mutual Group agrees that diversity, equity and inclusion are important topics and are working to add these topics to the seven core principles that have guided cooperatives for 175 years.

Credit Unions Staff

From Left to Right: Doug Lacy-Roberts, Myriam Powers, Chairman Rodney Hood, Amy Hunter, and Tammie Nuber at the NASCUS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit event in August.