November 14, 2018


More than half (52%) of credit union CEOs are female, according to CUNA research, compared with only 5% of commercial bank and 6% of Fortune 500 CEOs. This is according to a recently released CUNA policy analysis issue brief showing the results of its research into CEO gender.

“CUNA and the credit union system strongly value diversity and inclusion, and our vigorous research into the subject shows that the credit union system lives up to these principles,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Females are significantly underrepresented in management positions in the financial services industry, so we’re proud that credit unions create and sustain opportunities for female leaders to serve their members and communities.” CUNA’s research also found that even when accounting for institution size, credit unions have significantly more female representation in leadership roles. For example, at institutions between $1 billion and $3 billion in assets, 14.2% of credit union CEOs are female, compared to 3.6% of bank CEOs.

Other highlights of CUNA’s research include:

  • At both banks and credit unions, female CEOs are relatively more common at smaller institutions, but females are substantially more likely to rise to the role of CEO at credit unions than at banks at every asset level;
  • Accounting for differences in asset size, there is no evidence for a gender pay gap at credit unions. No statistically significant differences were found in compensation for credit union CEOs that are female versus male at similarly-sized institutions;
  • Female-led credit unions are relatively more conservative from a risk-management perspective than male-led credit unions. Among credit unions that experience a change in CEO with a corresponding change in gender (from male to female or female to male CEO), female-led credit unions:
    • Hold relatively higher levels of capital adequacy;
    • Have lower mortgage concentration, and loan-share and unsecured assets ratios;
    • Grow relatively slower in terms of loans and members.