Breaking Out of the Board Portal Box

“Breaking Out of the Board Portal Box” Article from CU Management Explores Selecting Board Reporting Technology

April 28, 2023

An article titled “Breaking Out of the Board Portal Box,” in the April 2023 issue of CU Management features perspectives from a variety of board management solution leaders, including ViClarity’s Erin O’Hern, VP Strategic Initiatives, on the importance of selecting the right GRC-driven software.

With the introduction of regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, stakeholders, investors, and board members started demanding more from their organizations. This spike in demand adds more to already-overwhelmed GRC teams, which is why many turn to digital solutions.

“It’s an interesting topic when you think about innovation in relation to board governance, and we’ve talked a lot about it internally – especially over the last 2 years, as regulators expect more from boards to understand and set the overall direction of the credit union and risk tolerance,” said O’Hern in the article written by Felicia Hudson Hannafan, contributing author with CU Management. “I think folks are looking at how they utilize software in general to ensure that they’re maximizing their resources and time.”

The Maturation of Board Governance

One of the most risky characteristics of board meetings pre-digital intervention was storing, printing and sharing confidential information.

Digital meeting portals close that gap to keep all documents in one secure location. Not only is technology more secure, but it also introduces agility to meetings – you can make changes during the meeting, right before or shortly after and see those changes reflected for all users immediately.

Upgrading Internal Meetings

While these solutions were created for board meetings, organizations can use them to create structure and consistency in internal staff meetings as well. Technology allows teams to communicate and collaborate remotely without risking data security.

Compliance and Preparing for Growth

Adding a digital solution to board meetings proves to be beneficial organizationally, but as O’Hern points out, regulators and examiners are turning their attention to how boards and senior executive teams manage their governance activities, monthly requirements, communication and engagement.

Aside from her expertise in regulation, O’Hern also leans into the idea of a solution that “helps prepare [the board] and the credit union for future innovation.”

This means selecting a technology solution like the ViClarity platform that is adaptable and responsive to credit union growth, because as that organization grows in assets, members and staff, the demands on the board, compliance, audit and risk management also increase steadily.

“The governance oversight of changing regulations and growing member services requires a technology solution for a board that can not only help them with their needs today but adapt over time to match the growth of the credit union,” said O’Hern.

“While there are some similarities amongst boards, such as setting up the audit or supervisory committee and credit committee, every credit union has unique needs,” she adds. “There are unique setups within credit union boards, and technology can help a credit union manage those needs.”

Strategic Planning

One way O’Hern has seen credit unions use ViClarity is to track and measure strategic plans throughout the year. The complexities of a strategic plan can be hard to track and monitor without an organized approach, and the ViClarity platform aggregates operational items and facilitates regular check-ins.

Achieve Corporate Social Responsibility

As organizations grow and start looking deeper in their social responsibilities – diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives or environmental initiatives – boards can start using technology solutions to track and monitor their progress in their social impact projects.

“Financial inclusion requires consideration of the regulations and often raises compliance questions,” said O’Hern. She also commented on the rise of queries from credit unions about incorporating DEI strategies into their organization and board reporting.

The Future of Board Portals

When looking to the future, O’Hern noted that ViClarity continues to watch for evolving trends and needs to guide what is built and enhanced. As organizations and boards start looking for solutions, it’s important to select one that checks their boxes in terms of security, adaptability and interconnectivity.

“Starting small is important to make sure you’re getting the most out of the systems you decide to use. Then you can grow overtime and identify your top needs.”


For more on board portals, check out the full article in CU Management.

Learn more about ViClarity's GRC technology solutions for credit unions or request a demo today. 


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