Know the Rules on Holiday Gifts

Can CU staff accept gifts from members?

November 27, 2013
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Examples of appropriate gifts include:

• Meals, gratuities, amenities, or favors based on obvious family or personal relationships. The circumstances should make it clear that the relationship, rather than the business of the credit union, is the motivating factor.

For example, let’s say Aunt Margaret, who also happens to be a member of the credit union, pays for your meal at an expensive restaurant one day on your lunch break. 

• Meals, refreshments, travel arrangements, accommodations, or entertainment of reasonable value in the course of a meeting or other business occasion.

In this case, the occasion must be for a bona fide business discussion or part of an effort to foster better business relations. And the expense should be one the credit union would pay as a reasonable business expense if not being paid by another party.

Check your credit union’s policies to determine if a dollar limit on gifts and favors is established under this exception.

• Advertising or promotional material of reasonable value, including pens, pencils, note pads, key chains, calendars, and similar items.

• Discounts or rebates on merchandise or services that are available to other persons or customers of the business or person under similar circumstances.

• Gifts of reasonable value related to commonly recognized events or occasions—such as a promotion, a new job, a wedding, a retirement, Christmas, or a bar or bat mitzvah.

For example, under the act, it’s permissible for you to accept a wedding gift from one of your favorite members.

Again, check your credit union’s policies to determine if they specify a dollar amount for acceptable gifts. NCUA doesn’t define acceptable dollar amounts credit union personnel can give or receive in instances of business-related entertainment or gifts. The expectation is that the amount should be “reasonable.”

Each credit union must establish its own acceptable standards, with examples of what’s considered appropriate. Review your credit union’s guidelines and expectations now as the holiday gift-giving begins.

This article first appeared in Front Line Newsletter.

Welcome Info.

Mark McCormick
December 16, 2010 10:46 am
It doesn't hurt to be reminded that CU management and employees are held to a higher standard than we often hear about in our daily news.

You could run this piece every year towards the end of the year.

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Good idea

Bill Merrick, Credit Union Magazine
December 16, 2010 12:29 pm
Thanks, Mark; that's a good idea.

Karen Saul offers up some good holiday-related information, too:

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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