The following article is sponsored. – Ed.

Credit unions across the United States are getting ready for the 40th annual Directors and CEOs Leadership Convention in Las Vegas this year. It promises keynote speakers like Dan Rather and industry experts like Jim Blaine, Gabor George Burt, Lynn Heckler, and many more providing strategies for improving your credit union’s lending practices, increasing its profits, handling the growing trend of mergers, and improving membership recruitment as well as guidance on how to grow your credit union, lead successful boards of directors, and find out about inspiring new solutions to issues facing the credit union movement. If you’re worried about complying with new regulations on credit unions, recruiting a new generation of leaders, improving your marketing strategy in a digital era, or reaching out to Millennial members, this year won’t be a conference to miss.

Besides great speakers and workshops, there will also be no shortage of innovative and essential vendors in attendance, showing credit unions across the country new technology and services that can enormously improve their performance. If your organization hasn’t invested in a board portal yet, or if it’s time for the board to renew its service with a board meeting software, you may want to make a point of visiting vendors to learn about board portal software and what’s new in the industry.

One board meeting software company, Aprio, will be in attendance telling prospective new clients what’s new in the world of board portal solutions. They’re bringing the message that if it’s time to renew your software, you may want to look at more affordable alternatives. The industry has changed in recent years, and many credit unions are realizing that more affordable board portal vendors offer the same high-end level of security as alternatives that cost a premium. Most portals now offer very similar features in terms of convenience and functionality, allowing admin staff to easily invite directors to meetings with the click of a button and share electronic materials securely with real time email updates. Meanwhile, directors have access to board materials online and offline, with some portals now compatible with all major smartphone and tablet operating systems. High-end security and data protection is also something that you no longer necessarily need to pay top dollar for, with vendors like Aprio offering it at more affordable prices, making it a popular option with credit unions.

What differentiates most portals now is what level of customer support and training you get for your investment. Credit unions should expect real human customer support around the clock, every day of the year. Your most valuable directors with financial and legal expertise likely have busy careers and multiple responsibilities that take them around the country, if not the world. They need access to live support whenever and wherever, that’s convenient no matter what time zone they’re in.

Credit unions also rely on board meeting software providers to train directors both when the software is brought on board and anytime the board introduces a new director. Anytime a financial institution introduces new software, 100 percent competency should be expected, and one-on-one training is simply a better way to achieve it. So when you’re at the Directors and CEOs Leadership Convention this year, ask around and find out what you should be getting from your board meeting software provider.