For Women’s History Month, The Wisconsin Credit Union League (The League) — a trade association representing the interests of 118 credit unions across the state — is celebrating the strong representation of women leaders in The Credit Union Movement both in Wisconsin and nationwide.
Nationwide, more than half of credit union CEOS are women, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). In Wisconsin, 47% of Wisconsin’s credit unions are run by women. A woman is almost three times more likely to be a CEO of a credit union than a bank, and national data shows that only 4.5% of bank CEOs are women. Additionally, twice as many women serve on credit union boards than banks, women entirely comprise Wisconsin's Credit Union Review Board, and the state's DFI Secretary and OCU director are women .
“The cooperative principles that power credit unions compel us to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion—and not just when it comes to our members,” League President & CEO Brett Thompson said. “While there is still much work to be done, we know that our Movement is made stronger by having leadership that better reflects our world. We are proud of the accomplishments of all women in the industry and will continue to support and elevate them.”
Credit unions continue to foster the development of women leaders through deepened succession plans, growth assignments, and an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion training. DEI became CUNA’s eighth cooperative principle in 2019, with The League’s Board of Directors passing a DEI resolution shortly thereafter.
But The Movement still has work to do in order to create an equal representation of women leaders across credit unions of all asset sizes. Kim Sponem, President & CEO of $4.8 billion Summit Credit Union, shared her advice on bringing more women leaders into the industry.
“Women need to support other women. You don’t need the perfect resume. You don’t need the perfect background. You need confidence that you can do the job well and make a difference,” Sponem said.
The League is also committed to supporting leadership development by providing various educational and networking opportunities to women in credit unions.
“In just a couple weeks we’ll be holding our annual Women’s Leadership Summit, which will be focused on mental health and financial well-being as well as winning credibility,” League VP of Professional Development Jennifer Esser said. “We are also involved in the Global Women’s Leadership Network and are planning to ramp up our engagement this year.”
You can learn more about how Wisconsin’s credit unions enrich their members and communities here.