A presentation on encouraging inclusivity and diversity drew a capacity crowd on Monday.
The hour-long discussion, billed as “The State of the Movement: Addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the Credit Union Movement,” featured a series of what one attendee described as “eye-popping” statistics gauging the industry’s progress employing and serving women and minority groups.
When it comes to women, the news was generally good. According to one of the panelists, CUNA Senior Policy Analyst Samira Salem, nearly 53 percent of credit union CEOs are women, though the number shrinks as institutions’ asset size increases
. At credit unions with $1 billion to $3 billion in assets, for example, women comprise a more modest 14 percent of the CEO total.
The C-Suite diversity did not extend as much to race
Salem noted that nearly 90 percent of CEOs are white, with the majority being older than 56 years of age. Just 8 percent of board members are African-American, she added.
Another panelist, Adrian Johnson, chairman of the African-American Credit Union Coalition, said his group counts a total of 164 African-American CEOs industrywide, with more than half, 87, leading institutions with less than $6 million of assets.
Johnson said his group, which was founded in 1999, is developing a networking initiative to showcase young African-American credit union professionals who he hopes will be hired by larger credit unions.
“Our members are hungry to get involved and make a difference. The only thing they need is an opportunity,” said Johnson, who also serves as chief financial officer of the $1.2 billion-asset Municipal Employees Credit Union in Baltimore.
Juan Fernandez, the CEO of Leverage Point, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based firm that provides strategic planning and other consulting services to credit unions, said the search firms that guide credit union in hiring executives and selecting board members need to make diversity a higher priority.
“In my experience I haven’t seen many that emphasize that as something they’re looking for,” said Fernandez, who attended Monday’s session. “We have to make them realize this something that is really important. The C-Suite should look like the rest of the country.”