​Becoming a Director of Northern Birch Credit Union Limited (“NBCU”)

If you strive to make a difference and want to give back to our Estonian and Latvian communities, you may wish to consider seeking nomination for a position on our Board of Directors. 

The Role of a Director

The role of a credit union Director in today’s environment is demanding and complex. Stakeholders (including the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, our regulator) require more from Directors than in the past, and consequently the Director’s role is rewarding, yet challenging. Directors are typically elected for terms of up to 3 years. Candidates must be NBCU members in good standing and must bring to the organization the required skills and experience as set out below.

The Board’s mandate includes overall responsibility and authority for the strategic direction of the credit union, including leadership, stewardship, corporate governance and policy, and performance. As such, Directors of NBCU are required to have a broad range of knowledge and depth of experience, as well as have a demonstrated commitment to and even better, passion for the principles, values and success of cooperative community-based financial services in our Estonian and Latvian and broader Baltic region communities.  Ideally applicants would demonstrate this commitment by being active in their NBCU membership.

The Application Process 

A Committee of the Board will be reviewing applications and will make recommendations for candidates based the qualities, attributes, skills, education, and expertise the Board determines it requires at the time.  The skills and experiences needed on the Board at any given time are articulated through an ongoing and forward-looking review of NBCU's mission, vision and strategic objectives, as well as emerging key issues and risks.  Each year the Board evaluates its current composition and skill set and identifies any critical skills, experience or expertise gaps on the Board and then seeks candidates with those attributes.

General Qualifications

Each Director should have:

  1. A high standard of personal values and ethics, including integrity, accountability, and commitment;
  2. The ability to think strategically, grasp and analyze complex issues and apply sound business and professional judgement, in context, to problem solve;
  3. Demonstrated mature and cooperative leadership;
  4. A strong understanding of fiduciary duty;
  5. Strong communication skills, including the ability to listen and speak his/her mind independently and respectfully;
  6. Willingness and ability to commit the required time to the role and actively participate in meetings and make a meaningful contribution to the Board of an average of at least 10 hours per month;
  7. Commitment to ongoing training and education for Board skills and duties;
  8. Share NBCU's purpose and values, and demonstrate a willingness to act in NBCU's best interest at all times;
  9. Demonstrate an understanding of the co-operative principles governing community-based financial services;
  10. Demonstrate the ability to bring an informed perspective of external business, finance, and social issues to Board deliberations;
  11. Uphold the values of teamwork demonstrating the ability to operate as a team at Board level and "speak with one voice" once full discussion has been undertaken and a decision made by the Board;
  12. Have a demonstrated reputation of valuable community involvement; and
  13. Hold a positive reputation in the community.

Required Competencies

Each Director should have a strong understanding of each of the following core competencies as outlined by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, or a willingness to achieve a strong understanding within a specified timeframe if elected to the Board:

  1. Audit and Compliance: Knowledge and understanding of monitoring and auditing processes required to ensure compliance with the credit union's policies, standards of sound business practices and regulatory requirements;
  2. Board & CEO Performance: Knowledge and understanding of tools and methodologies for assessing the Board's performance and also for monitoring the performance and development of the CEO to determine strengths, deficiencies and areas for improvement;
  3. Credit Union Operations: Knowledge and understanding of how a credit union's infrastructures inter-relate and how they enable the effective and efficient delivery of services while managing risk and regulatory requirements;
  4. Financial Literacy: Financial knowledge and understanding to interpret financial reports and statements and monitor corrective actions to ensure financial goals and regulatory requirements are met;
  5. Governance and Ethics: Knowledge and understanding of the critical elements of good governance and ethics;
  6. Leadership: Knowledge and understanding of the attributes of leadership to motivate, influence and support others to accomplish organizational goals and encourage on-going education to further develop competencies;
  7. Regulatory Environment: Knowledge and understanding of the regulatory environment, policy development and policies to meet legal, regulatory and governance requirements;
  8. Risk Management Oversight: Knowledge and understanding of the risk management framework for identifying, measuring and managing significant risk and events that may impact the credit union's objectives; and
  9. Strategic Planning: Knowledge and understanding of strategic planning processes and the ability to contribute to the development of the strategic direction, core values and strategic goals and objectives for the credit union.

Specific Director Qualifications

At this time, we are specifically seeking the following specialty expertise (in addition to required competencies and general qualifications outlined above):

  1. CPA designation with demonstrated current audit or tax specialization, or
  2. Demonstrated current marketing, business development, communications experience and expertise at a leadership level, or
  3. Demonstrated current human resources experience and expertise at VP level or higher, or
  4. Practicing lawyer in related practice area; or
  5. Demonstrated current experience in credit union operations and governance.

Candidate Assessment

In addition to the above and restrictions on board membership established in the Credit Unions Act and NBCU by-laws, the board may consider the following in assessing whether a prospective candidate for the board is qualified to stand for election:

  1. Whether the skill set possessed by the candidate complements those presently on the board.
  2. Whether the candidate is actively employed or engaged in a field or activity which ensures that the skills are current.
  3. Appreciation of the role and responsibilities of the board and its members within the context of the credit union’s governance structure and under best governance practices, or at the very least can be expected to achieve following a brief orientation process.

It is expected that qualified candidates will have appropriate levels of education and professional designations which support the skills and levels of competence expected from a board member of a publicly accountable Canadian enterprise.

Validity of Applications

Applications received from the membership, to be valid, must be in the form, and received by the deadline, below and must contain the required information and accompanying documents.  The NBCU Board has full and unfettered discretion to reject an application, including on the following basis:

  1. the information provided by the applicant is incomplete, false, or misleading, or the application has not been received within the prescribed timeline; or
  2. a real or perceived conflict of interest exists, that would prevent the applicant, if elected, from properly discharging their duties as a Director; or
  3. the application does not adhere to applicable legal or regulatory requirements or does not hold the required specialized expertise. 

How to demonstrate your interest

During the candidacy period January 10, 2021 to February 10, 2021 at 4pm, applicants are invited to express their interest by submitting the signed nomination form, their Curriculum Vitae together with a covering letter outlining how their qualifications meet NBCU’s Director requirements, their willingness to undertake required training, and how they propose to support NBCU in achieving its purpose which is to be a cooperative member-owned financial services provider for people of Estonian and Latvian heritage and their families and friends, a “Village Bank” with big city capabilities. Qualified candidates will be interviewed by members of NBCU’s Board to assess suitability as a Director.

e-mail to:  boardcandidate@northernbirchcu.com

​Meet our Board of Directors

Chair of the Board: Ellen Valter
Vice-Chair: Juris Steprans
Vice-Chair: Tiina Liivet
Corporate Secretary: Karin Ots
Audit Committee Chair: Lea Kõiv 


Kuldar Lindvere
Liene Kirss
Liis Palmer
Matti Jalakas
Mihkel Liik
Peter Poolsaar
Vilis Miklasevics

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