A Look at Who Is Getting Paid & How Much at Credit Unions


MADISON, Wis.—CEOs at credit unions above $100 million in assets received an average annual salary increase of 4.5% in 2015, according to a new report from CUNA.

The CUNA 2015-2016 CEO Total Compensation Report also shows that as of Jan. 1, 2015, the median base salary (excluding incentives, bonuses, and perks) among CEOs at CUs in this asset range is $207,000.

“This is similar to 2014’s median of $208,718. As might be expected, the median base salary rises as asset size increases,” CUNA stated.

The report also shows that 75% of these same CEOs earned some kind of incentive or bonus pay by the end of 2014. Bonuses are defined as after-the-fact rewards for a job well done. Incentives, on the other hand, are defined as awards tied to preset performance criteria.

The report also indicates that the two leading criteria most relied-upon to determine incentive awards are earnings—return on assets, return on equity, or return on investments—and loan growth.

“More than 70% of credit unions base their CEOs’ incentive awards on each of these two factors,” stated CUNA. “Net income and membership growth serve as secondary incentive criteria.”

CUNA also released its 2015-2016 Senior Executive Total Compensation Report. Highlights are:

  • As of Jan. 1, 2015, the median base salary (excluding incentives, bonuses, and perks) among senior executives – EVP, COO, CIO and CFO) – in credit unions with assets of $100 million or more falls between about $120,000 and $135,000, depending on the position. “EVPs, as a group, register the highest median base salary among the four executive positions included in this study,” CUNA said. “As might be expected, for each of the four positions, the median base salary rises as asset size increases.”
  • Roughly 75% to 80% of senior executives earned variable pay—bonuses and/or incentive payments—by year-end 2014. The median total variable pay falls between about $6,500 and $10,000, depending on the position. “This represents roughly 5% to 8% of each position’s base salaries,” CUNA said. “With rare exception, bonus payments, incentive payments, and total variable pay for the four positions studied increase as credit union asset size increases.”
  • Many credit unions—roughly 50% to 65%—use their loan growth, earnings (return on assets, return on equity, or return on investment), and net income as the top criteria to determine incentive awards.
  • Life insurance, medical insurance, and disability insurance are the most common benefits—regardless of position—credit unions provide to their senior executives. “Roughly 80% to 90% of executives receive these benefits. By year-end 2014, credit unions providing the various benefits studied spent a median of about $6,500 to $8,500 on them on behalf of their senior executives, depending on the position,” CUNA explained.

CUNA said that each report is derived from an annual CUNA survey of CEO and senior executive earnings in the credit union industry.

“With reliable information on CEO and senior executive compensation in such short supply, these reports offer a comprehensive resource for credit union compensation planning,” says Jon Haller, director of corporate and market research at CUNA. “The reports provide assistance on all compensation decisions, from base salary to retirement benefits.”

The reports categorize data according to several key parameters, such as asset size and region. The reports provide complete compensation data including:

  • Base pay
  • Bonuses and incentives
  • Perks and benefits
  • Executive retirement plans

To order the 2015-2016 CUNA CEO Total Compensation Report and the 2015-2016 CUNA Senior Executive Total Compensation Report, click here and here.

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