Under pressure to diversify its board, SchoolsFirst adds associate seats

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SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, Calif., one of the nation’s largest CUs, has announced changes to its board after coming under fire earlier this year over a perceived lack of diversity in its directors.

Bill Cheney, president and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
Bill Cheney, president and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

Doug Sato, an auditor and a 38-year member of SchoolsFirst, has been appointed to fill a board seat vacated by Adam O’Connor, who retired from the credit union’s board after 25 years of service. Two other members, Nina Boyd and Richard De Nava, were appointed to serve as associate directors. Both have served on multiple committees at the institution.

All three are minorities.

Andy Plumley, chairman of the $22.6 billion-asset institution, said in a press release that these additions complement the board’s skillset and experiences and “will provide valuable, diverse perspectives to help us represent the membership."

Bill Cheney, the credit union’s CEO, said the board’s collective contributions “have permitted all members to thrive through many economic cycles, including the one we are experiencing today.”

However, Barry Resnick, the longtime SchoolsFirst member who has led the charge against SchoolsFirst’s lack of diversification, suggested via email that the credit union’s attempts did not reflect a real commitment to change.

"Adding seats doesn't resolve the issue that the board of directors are woefully short of representing the communities served by SchoolsFirst,” Resnick, who is white, said via email.

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Diversity and equality Racial Bias Credit unions Corporate governance California
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