New Study Finds Median Staff Increases For CU Staff, Execs Up 3.5%

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From Spring 2004 to Spring 2005, median salaries for staff level credit union employees climbed 3.5% while those of executives increased 3.6%, according to the D. Hilton Associates' (DHA) 2005 Summer Staff and Executive Compensation Surveys.

In addition, D. Hilton said variable pay in credit union compensation programs continued to increase in importance, supporting the pay-for-performance models many CUs now choose. That finding is in line with a recently released survey by CUES (CU Journal, Aug. 15).

At the staff level, 63% of the jobs covered by the DHA surveys are now eligible for variable pay, up from 52% a year ago, D. Hilton found. On the executive side, non-base salary components now comprise more than 50% of total compensation.

D. Hilton reported that among credit union executives, some of the biggest financial winners in the past year are those who have changed jobs. Information collected by DHA shows that executive job-changers in the past year usually realized significant compensation increases as a result of their moves. Not surprisingly, the most lucrative move was moving from a vice presidency to the CEO position.

Moving into the top executive slot resulted in an average base salary increase of 31% and an average total cash increase (including bonus/variable pay) of 34%. However, lateral moves were financially advantageous as well. Those who moved from one vice presidency to another saw average increases of 26% to base salary and 28% to total cash. Moving from one CEO slot to another resulted in an average increase of 17% to base salary and 18% to total cash, D. Hilton reported.

At the staff level, DHA said its survey findings suggest that credit unions have "not yet fully embraced pay programs that parallel their sales orientation."

"An indication of this is the fact that administrative managers (accounting, marketing, HR, information systems) earn an average of 17% more than their front-line manager counterparts," D.Hilton said. "Front-line managers included those in consumer loan, mortgage lending, member service, branch supervision, and call center supervision. While the latter group might have been expected to receive greater variable pay compensation to support their sales responsibilities, this was not the case."

The report found that the biggest winners in the variable pay arena over the past year were real estate lending staff members, for whom variable pay averaged 10% of base pay. For other staff level positions, variable pay averages ranged from 3.1% to 4.7% of base pay. At the middle management level, results were more compressed, with reported variable pay averages ranging from 4.0% to 6.7% of base pay, the company revealed.

Despite the emphasis on real estate lending indicated by staff level variable pay awards, managerial bonuses in this area were behind those for consumer lending and human resources, and were similar to those for collections managers on a percentage basis, D. Hilton said.

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