The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and Happy Monday!

Advocacy at work!

“Advocacy” is a word we use in our government relations. It describes legislation, regulatory, political campaigns, awareness, and more.  What does it mean when we say “advocacy” here at CUAD? In short, it means influencing lawmakers to vote to protect credit unions and their members. When we say we are moving advocacy forward, we are doing our best to guarantee the long and successful future of credit unions.

Things at the North Dakota Capitol have been moving along these last few weeks. Today marks day 62 of the 66th Legislative Session. As we have previously reported in our weekly legislative updates, we have already testified 16 times this session! While CUAD staff provide most of the testimony, on occasion, we turn to our credit union professionals for help. We have learned that the best form of advocacy is when you share your real stories with your representatives. We continually ask for and seek your input. We do this because you are our credit unions’ best advocates. Your daily experiences with your members have a real impact on lawmakers. 

This past session, Jon Griffin (photo left), Chief Operations and Risk Officer at Capital Credit Union, Bismarck, provided important input on SB 2179, which was a bill that provided clear guidelines for financial institutions on financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Jon’s input led to positive amendments that strengthened the bill while protecting the member, as well as credit unions and banks. The bill passed without one dissenting vote in either chamber, and was signed by Governor Burgum last week.

In another successful hearing, Tyler Neether (photo right) VP of Commercial Lending at Town & Country Credit Union, Minot, testified on HB 1220 before the joint Senate and House Agriculture Committee hearing in February. Tyler shared the need for better notification to a secured lender on agricultural priority supplier liens of over $50,000. His input led to an amendment for a legislative management study in coordination with the Secretary of State’s office to determine how the state's central indexing system can be used to provide timely notification to a secured lender when a super priority lien is filed on the collateral of a secured lender. The legislative management shall report its findings and recommendations, together with any legislation required to implement the recommendations, to the sixty-seventh legislative assembly.

Both Neether and Griffin also serve on the North Dakota Governmental Affairs Committee and are actively engaged in legislative and regulatory advocacy. We thank them for their support and assistance. 

Beyond sharing your stories, combining your collective voices on issues helps ensure that credit unions’ needs are heard, and met. We have created one of the largest grassroots cultures in the Dakotas. When we ask you to contact your representative or your senator, you do it in droves, coming together as one voice. You always have been – and always will be – the best advocates for Dakota credit unions.

North Dakota Lawmakers on track to wrap-up business by Good Friday.

The North Dakota session is quickly winding down and hopes to Sine Die (adjourn) by Good Friday, April 13. As the conference committees finalize their work this week and next, there are still five bills that we are watching. Two (SB 2148, and HB1521) are related to the approval of the ballot initiative "Measure 1" from the November General Election, pertaining to an ethics commission and constitutional guidance on political engagement from lobbyists and political committees. We are also waiting for the conference committee report on HB 1008, which is the appropriations bill for the Department of Financial Institutions. CUAD testified three times on this bill and presented an amendment to restore the appropriation to the 2015-2017 biennium, which reinstates an additional $300,000 to the 2019-2020 budget.

Directors College launches this week. Still time to join us!

You asked for it, and now we are bringing it to you! In partnership with the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS), 42 credit union volunteers and leaders will be participating in this high-level workshop on April 11 in Fargo. This one-day class will focus on director expectations, including BSA requirements, cyber security concerns, succession planning, interest rate risk, and other critical issues impacting credit unions today. The CUAD Directors College is designed for credit union board members and senior staff members. It’s not too late if you want to attend! Learn more and register here.

East River Announces Next CEO.

The East River Federal Credit Union Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Tanya Hobson as the credit union’s next President/CEO. Tanya will succeed Mechelle Johnson, who will be leaving in June after 24 years as the President/CEO. There will be a full story in the Memo this week, but I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to her as she begins her new and exciting role.

Recognized again!

For the fifth year in a row, The CUAD Memo received the All Star Award from Constant Contact for our daily electronic newsletter. Only the top 10% of organizations that use Constant Contact receive this recognition, so it is quite an honor. Be sure to check out the related story in today’s Memo for more details, and thanks to our members for reading the Memo and making our newsletter such a great success!

Our sincere condolences to Emery family.

Finally, we want to send our deepest condolences to the family of Gloria Emery, and our North Star Community Credit Union family. Gloria was the wife of Chuck Emery, Board Chair at North Star. Gloria passed away last week due to complications from a heart valve replacement surgery. She was a lifelong credit union member and attended countless events in support of Chuck’s 30+ years as a credit union volunteer. I had the chance to meet Gloria at many of these events, most recently at the MONDAK and GAC meetings this winter. Please keep Chuck and his family in your thoughts and prayers.



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