COLLINGWOOD—A group of seven voting delegates representing the three branches of the former Espanola and District Credit Union—Espanola, Little Current and Mindemoya—now part of Northern Credit Union, attended their first annual general meeting (AGM) of the new banking institution in Collingwood last weekend.
Pentti Palonen, branch chair of the three branch delegate group, explained that part of the appeal of the merger with Northern Credit Union was the delegate process—delegates are chosen by their fellow members at branch annual meetings. One of the delegate organization’s main functions is to elect individuals to the board of directors. The delegate group (there were 87 in attendance at the Collingwood meting) also approved changes to the bylaws of the corporation and accepted year-end board of directors reports and financial reports on behalf of the members.
The delegates attending the AGM were Jim Gilpin, Ron Kenney, Steve Schaffer, Keith Patterson, Rick McCutcheon, Pennti Palonen, Joellen Sloss and Brian Cairns. Also attending was Lindsay Liske, former CEO of the Espanola and District Credit Union.
“We currently have two people on the board—Brian Cairns from Espanola and Joellen Sloss of Kagawong,” Mr. Palonen said. “We’re lucky to have a direct voice on the board.” Ms. Sloss, in fact, was elected last weekend to a three-year term in a contested election.
Mr. Cairns, from Espanola, joined the board at the time of the asset merger between the old Espanola and District Credit Union and Northern Credit Union earlier this year.
At the AGM, “there was spirited discussion about the evolution of the delegate model of governance and the functions of the delegates in the future,” the delegate chair added.
While no decision was arrived at at the AGM, Mr. Palonen said he was impressed by the level of discussion.
Mr. Palonen firmly believes that Espanola and District Credit Union’s merger with Northern Credit Union was a good decision. “It was approved 100 percent by the board and almost unanimously by the members.”
The future is bright for Northern members as the credit union is embarking on major plans to modernize member services, Mr. Palonen added.
The assets of Northern Credit Union are in excess of $1 billion and the organization has branches from as far north as Thunder Bay south to Grey County and as far east as Arnprior in the Ottawa Valley.