Split-Dollar Plan Growth Isn’t Just for CEOs

The growth of split-dollar life insurance arrangements has outpaced that of other standard components of supplemental executive benefits packages in recent years, especially strong among non-CEO executives.

This trend is reported in the 2021 update of “Non-Qualified Executive Benefits: A Guide for Credit Union Leadership.”

The 32-page guide, originally published in 2017 by CUNA Mutual Group in collaboration with CUES, explains why and how to use deferred compensation programs to recruit, reward and retain excellent credit union leaders.

The guide uses data from the 2020 CUES Credit Union Executive Compensation Survey to show trends in supplemental executive benefits product usage.

The 2020 survey shows that 457(b) and 457(f) continue to be the most used deferred compensation tools for executives overall.

One reason is that 457 plans have been available to credit unions since the late 1980s, whereas split-dollar life insurance were not available to credit unions until about 2005.

For credit union CEOS, 457 plan usage remained relatively steady at 45.3% for 457(b) and 38.5% for 457(f) in the 2020 survey. Use of these plans appears to have plateaued in recent years. However, the results show a clear increase from the 2017 to the 2020 survey in the percentage of split-dollar arrangements offered to CEOs—and to most of the other executive categories measured.

Split-dollar insurance was offered to CEOs by 35.3% of surveyed credit unions—an increase of more than 37% from the 2017 survey. The chart below shows the executive categories that achieved the highest increase in split-dollar plans over the 2017 survey.

In addition to an updated trends report, the guide offers a nine-step guide to creating and maintaining deferred compensation plans to suit your overall executive compensation and succession strategies. It features common scenarios of how credit unions deploy deferred compensation plans, gleaned from thousands of these programs managed by CUNA Mutual Group over many years.

Download a complimentary copy of the guide here.

Written by
Lizeth George
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The League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates represents nearly 300 credit unions throughout Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. It has a combined total of almost $200 billion in assets and 12.4 million members. LSCU provides advocacy, compliance services, education and training, cooperative initiatives, and communications.

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