US credit unions are more likely to have a female CEO than banks

Around 51% of US credit union CEOs, and 36% of board members in the sector, are women, a study by apex body Cuna has found

Research from the Credit Union National Association (Cuna) in the USA found that credit unions have a higher ratio of women CEOs than regular banks.

The report, based on analysis of 162 publicly traded banks comparable in assets to credit unions, found that 4% of commercial bank CEOs in the US were women in 2022, and 23% of board members at those banks were women.

A similar study by S&P Global from 2021 found that 10 out of 347 CEOs at publicly traded US banks were led by women.

Meanwhile, 51% of US credit union CEOs and 36% of credit union board members are women. Furthermore, a credit union board member is more than 1.5 times as likely to be a woman. In 2022, 36.5% of credit union board members were women compared to 23.3% of bank board members. 

“There’s a lot of good news in this report,” said Cuna’s vice-president of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), Samira Salem. “First, credit unions continue to be the one place where women can get a fair shake when it comes to leadership positions – both on boards and in the C-Suite. And significantly, since the last report we’ve seen a growing percentage of women leading larger credit unions.”

In the case of larger credit unions and banks with more than US$1bn in total assets, the CEO of a credit union is five times more likely to be a woman than a CEO of a bank. There are very few $1bn credit unions with no women on their board – just 2.6% of the total.

“These results, which eclipse what we find at banks, should be celebrated,” said Salem. “At the same time, our research demonstrates that we still need to identify and remove the remaining barriers to women making even more headway on credit union boards and as CEOs of larger credit unions.”

The study also found that as the size of credit unions increases, the likelihood of the CEO being a woman decreases, which indicated that some barriers continue to exist.