Members vote to rein in board pay at Coast Capital

Campaigners said remuneration was too rich at credit union

Coast Capital Savings has 504,000 members at 50 branches in southwestern B.C.

Coast Capital Savings members have wrested back control over how much money the credit union pays its board of directors.

A nearly 80 per cent vote by members at an April 30 annual general meeting is expected to lead to a new membership vote in 2014 on changes to board pay levels.

It follows a grassroots campaign led by Surrey resident Phil Embley, who argued the remuneration levels were far higher than at other credit unions in Canada.

The board has agreed to cut chair Bill Wellburn’s retainer from $76,500 to $65,000. Last year he received $157,000 after $1,000-per-meeting fees were added.

The Surrey-headquartered credit union has also frozen a recommended increase in the base retainer of directors from $25,500 to $29,500. Some directors get more than $70,000 after meeting fees and committee chair fees are added.

“We take to heart what our members have told us,” Coast Capital governance committee chair Glenn Wong said. “They have said they want to approve the amount of compensation directors receive.”

A member panel will be struck to advise on potential changes to director compensation to take to a new vote.

Wong said the changes already agreed to reduce total board compensation by $130,000 or 18 per cent.

The $720,000 in total pay to the Coast Capital board last year was nearly twice as much as Vancity Credit Union paid its board in 2011.

Coast Capital is Canada’s largest credit union by membership, with $14.6 billion in assets and 504,000 members at 50 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

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