The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
3/16/2020

I know you are all very busy preparing and implementing your pandemic response, including keeping your staff and family safe while doing your best to serve your member’s financial needs through it all.

With the National Emergency declaration by President Trump late last week and similar actions taken over the weekend by Governor Noem and Governor Burgum in closing schools in both states, we are all considering necessary actions to take and implement. 

As you may have heard, some states and local municipalities across the country have asked non-essential businesses to limit services or close temporarily. Essential businesses such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, and financial institutions have been deemed necessary and essential. We are all being slammed with tons of information and guidance.

We know when times like this occur, credit unions always step up and respond. In fact credit unions are truly are the financial first responders. When disaster strikes, whether it is fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or a pandemic outbreak, credit unions band together and step up to help members with their financial needs in a time of distress. Every day, credit unions help people and advance communities. We have been through uncertain times before, and you can bet that we’ll be called into action again. Credit unions across the Dakotas are stepping into action. That is the foundation of the credit union difference.

Your input is needed.

During this time, CUNA is asking for our assistance in gathering some helpful data as to how Dakota credit unions are preparing to assist members during this crisis. For example, are you altering branch hours and services, extending financial support to members, and stepping in to cooperatively support credit unions that may have to close branches due to interactions with the virus? We would sincerely appreciate it if you could weigh in on this survey so that the Dakotas are included in this data collection. Here is a link to the survey.

Federal Reserve takes action over the weekend.

As the outbreak of COVID-19 has taken the global economy off track, the Fed over the weekend announced they would slash its federal funds rate by a whole percentage point to between 0% and 0.25%. The Fed also announced a handful of other actions Sunday, including lowering the primary credit rate by 150 basis points which will encourage credit unions and banks to lend through the discount window. This action offers financial institutions short-term liquidity, and urges financial institutions to use their capital and liquidity buffers to lend to people and businesses affected by the coronavirus.

News about the CUAD Summit.

Several members have inquired about our plans regarding our upcoming events, specifically the Annual Summit Meeting scheduled for May 4-6 in Sioux Falls, SD. Yesterday the CDC (Center for Disease Control) issued new guidance against holding events with 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks. Our Summit meeting is right on the threshold of that deadline; we are actually 7 weeks out.

While we haven’t made a final decision on the Summit, we are in the process of discussing the event and will have an announcement soon. We will continue to work with our venue providers, local municipalities, state government, and others to ensure we take all precautions and adhere to recommendations. Plans will be made in a timely manner when we have the proper information to assist us in an informed decision. Please reference the following page for important event alerts and resources regarding COVID-19.

ULEND Academy rescheduled.

We have rescheduled our ULEND Academy to August 4 – 5 at the same hotel in Fargo. We will begin communication to our current registrants today and offer full refunds to those who are unable to attend on the new dates.   

Have a good week. Stay safe and be well.

Jeff

 

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