The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and Happy Monday!

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” said Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus. For only a few weeks every fall, nature puts on one of its most spectacular displays as trees and shrubs finish out the growing season in a brilliant display of colors. Here in the Dakotas, we certainly do get to witness the miracle of autumn. As I drove across a soggy and wet state this weekend, I noticed that many of the native trees seem to be skipping the “miracle” process and going directly from green to brown. The scientific term for that is called senescence – which is the process that leads to the aging and death of a plant, or plant parts such a leaf.  Anyway, fall is in the air across the region and perhaps the native trees know what lies ahead. 

Credit Union supported SAFE Banking Act gets the nod from the U.S. House. North Dakota and South Dakota congressional representatives split on the vote.

A credit union backed cannabis related bill passed by the U.S. House last week is the first ever on a federal level, and it is a huge step forward on cannabis banking. Specifically, this bill will make communities safer by getting legal cannabis money off the streets and protecting credit unions that serve legal cannabis businesses. 321 House members voted in favor of the bill, with broad bipartisan support (a rare thing these days), including a support from Rep. Kelly Armstrong (ND). Congressman Dusty Johnson, (SD), did not vote in favor of the bill.

North Dakota does have legalized medical cannabis with dispensary businesses up and running. South Dakota rejected medical marijuana ballot initiatives in 2006 and in 2010. However, a new legalization initiative may appear on the 2020 ballot. This was a topic that CUAD advocates discussed while we were visiting our representatives on Capitol Hill prior to last week’s vote. CUNA and affiliates were the only national credit union trade association to support the SAFE Banking Act. In fact, the CUNA/League system's support of the bill was mentioned in US News & World Report, The Hill and Fox Business. Pictured is Jim Nussle, CUNA President/CEO participating in at a post vote news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol with the bill’s primary sponsors.

Rapid City – ready or not, here we come!

You can still join us for our fall conference and take advantage of one terrific educational opportunity. If you can manage to make some last minute plans, we encourage you to “head for the hills” for the CUAD New Ideas Conference, October 7 – 9, in Rapid City.

We have an amazing lineup of presenters planned. We’re extremely excited to bring Filene Research Institute’s Immersion Workshop to our conference, led by Elry Armaza from Filene Research Institute. We also have secured Jesse McGannon from Strategic Re-source Management who will be demonstrating how credit unions of all sizes can get started at future-proofing their operations. Then, we have Josh Cook, CEO Community Choice Credit Union, a marketing expert who has won multiple industry awards. And, we have added a much-anticipated speaker, Aaron Grossman with AdvantEdge Analytics.

Save the date: MONDAK 2020 in Las Vegas locked in!

Who doesn’t want a little mid-winter getaway? Mark your calendars now to join us for the popular MONDAK CEO/Volunteer Roundtable conference, February 11 – 12, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Did you know the average temperature there in February is almost 70 degrees? Reason enough to start thinking about it, anyway.)

2020 will mark our 4th MONDAK Roundtable meetings. Each year we focus our dialogue on helping credit unions and volunteer leadership develop winning strategies and well-defined roles and expectations. We’ll share more details in weeks to come, but credit union leaders and volunteers should put this event on your educational calendar for 2020.

Calling all Dakota credits unions to participate in Regulation Burden Study.

We're calling on all Dakota CEOs to contribute to CUNA's Regulatory Burden Study. Be on the lookout for a follow-up email from me early this week on an enormously important tool we use to communicate just how difficult it is for our movement to comply with our regulatory burden. We need and are asking for your help and for high participation from Dakota credit unions in the survey so that we have the strongest advocacy message possible. Please take 30 minutes of your time and share your insights. The deadline has been extended to October 7.

Healthcare Trust Updates.

South Dakota – Our waiver application was submitted to the South Dakota Department of Insurance in early September and is still under review. Meanwhile, eligible South Dakota credit unions should have received prospective plans and rates from our Health Benefits Broker. Once our trust receives clearance from the Director, we’ll be circling back to each individual credit union that participated in the initial review process for the opt-in process. Look for details for an informational webinar in the next few weeks once South Dakota approval is confirmed.

For our North Dakota participants, we anticipate that rates and plan options for 2020 will be released in early October. We’ll hold a North Dakota member webinar on the rollout of plan options and 2020 rates by mid-month. We’ll also circle back to each individual credit union participant to work through any questions you may have for 2020 planning.

Have a great week everyone!  I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Rapid City next week!







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