Credit unions face many unique challenges in the 21st century, and credit union boards are faced with the difficult task of anticipating and meeting the needs of their organizations while charting a strategic course that will help their membership grow in the years to come. Whether a credit union thrives or merely survives often hangs on decisions made by board members, and ensuring that board meetings are productive is absolutely vital to the success of the business as a whole.
Planning and running an effective board meeting, however, is not an easy task. Not only are there the usual logistical challenges of making sure all members can be present in person or via teleconference; there is also the problem of sending out the information packets ahead of time so members can arrive at the meeting prepared for a productive discussion. There are plenty of document sharing services available online, but with new risks to cyber security arising every month through malware and ransomware attacks, ensuring that sensitive information stays confidential is a serious concern. In fact, an annual study carried out by Computer Services Inc. noted that banks and credit unions across North America listed mitigating fraud and cyber security as one of their top three biggest challenges.
For many credit union board managers, the solution lies in better technology. While data security has always been a major priority in the industry, there is a growing awareness that even big-name software tools like Gmail and Dropbox are not impervious to cyber attacks. This is why a growing number of credit unions are turning to portal software to help share board information in a secure but accessible way.
Board portal software allows board members to access and comment on information packets through a secure portal, both before the meeting and while it is in session. Credit union board managers looking for the best board meeting software often evaluate it using a few basic criteria:
- Accessibility: Can the software be accessed across a range of platforms (desktop, tablet, etc.)?
- Security: What jurisdictions are server data kept in, and does the service authenticate each user when they login?
- Functionality: Is the software easy to navigate, and does it facilitate user interaction with and discussion of the documents and reports?
- Training: Does the provider offer training, so board members can get the most out of the software?
Most portal software providers are able to meet at least some of these requirements, but when considering which is right for your organization, it is best to look at what kinds of clients they specialize in serving. Credit unions have particular needs, and finding a portal software provider who understands those needs, like Vancouver-based Aprio, will make implementing and using the software much easier in the long run.
With 2018 already well under way, credit union boards are already planning how best to meet the latest challenges facing the industry, from sustaining growth on the individual level to working toward meaningful regulatory relief. No wonder so many are opting to facilitate these conversations using portal software that offers a secure forum to share information and ideas.