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This episode’s guest has a professional mantra that aligns well with CUES’ mission of developing credit union CEOs, executives, board members and future leaders. Eric Earle, executive benefits advisor for CUESolutions provider CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wisconsin, says the idea he lives by in his work is: “People make good decisions when they’re well informed.”

In this episode, Earle talks about how more credit unions are establishing benefits plans to help retain existing CEOs and C-suite executives—and to recruit new ones when necessary.

“Competition for executive talent has intensified in recent years and as a result we have seen a number of credit unions put executive benefit plans in place,” he says in the show.

During the episode, Earle describes board oversight of a credit union’s executive benefits. 

“A credit union’s board of directors is ultimately responsible for the establishment of an executive benefit plan,” he notes. “However, many boards will task their personnel committee with the responsibility of designing the benefit plan to be mutually beneficial for the executive and the credit union membership as a whole.

“It’s usually more efficient for a subset of the board to evaluate the benefit plans, determine the right mix of benefits and make a recommendation to the full board for approval—rather than having all of the board members involved in the process," he adds.

Earle is sensitive to the fact that some credit union board members don’t have experience with benefits plans or investments and that can make it challenging for them to take on learning about or implementing these plans. In the show, Earle identifies some key questions he gets asked, including:

·       Why should we provide additional benefits to our CEO when she already earns way more than our average member? How do we know if an executive benefit plan is really right for our credit union?

·       Are we paying our senior leaders appropriately?

·       Can my credit union afford to provide additional benefits for our CEO?

Listen to the show to hear his answers! The episode also gets into:

·       Two specific examples of how executive benefits plans might not be so expensive as credit union leaders might initially anticipate

·       Several best practices for boards that want to learn about executive benefits and, ultimately, make a prudent decision

“There’s a lot of great resources out there to help credit union boards do their due diligence,” Earle says. “But the most important thing is that they actually do it—that they actually take their time to evaluate their options. And, going back to my mantra, when people are well-informed, they make good decisions.”

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