The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
3/30/2020

Greetings,  

Even though it may be difficult these days, thank you for reading the Memo. It’s important we all stay connected as best as we can during these challenging times. Thank you for everything you are doing to help your employees, families, and communities through it all.

Like most of you, here at your Association we been having lots of meetings with our partners at CUNA and with our league peers at AACUL (American Association of Credit Union Leagues) as well as hearing from several of you directly this week. I sincerely appreciate many of you responding to our request for information from you this past week, specifically on cash runs. We had a few media calls this past week and we wanted to hear from those on the front lines. It was also great to get a picture of the many things that you are doing to serve your members and educate on the risks of having a lot of cash at home.

In response to member and consumer concerns during this threat, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas issued an opinion letter to many local newspapers throughout North and South Dakota this past week. The letter promoted the safety and soundness of our credit unions, and reminded the public that we stand willing and ready to serve our members as their financial needs arise.

Here are some of the markets where the letter or an article was published:

CUAD requests credit unions be included as Essential Businesses.

In preparation for prospective “shelter in place” declarations by Governor Noem and/or Governor Burgum, CUAD sent letters to both Governor’s offices late last week requesting that credit unions be included with other financial institutions as essential businesses, in the event one or both states issue the executive order. We have been in direct contact with each Governor’s office. North Dakota has responded, indicating that they are NOT considering executing the executive order at this time. We have not yet heard from Governor Noem’s office. Rest assured, we will keep you informed as we continue to work hard to protect our local credit unions and the credit union industry.

In the event this should happen, your CUAD team has posted helpful resources and templates you can utilize and implement into your pandemic response plans. Find them on our CUAD COVID Resource Page. Some of the resources available include:

  • Sample essential employee letter
  • CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) Essential and Critical Services Guidance
  • Secretary of Treasury Memo
  • CUAD Request to Governor Noem
  • CUAD request to Governor Burgum

President Trump signs massive economic relief bill - CARES Act, Stimulus Phase III.

As you know, last week was very busy for credit union advocacy, and CUNA and CUAD’s efforts had a positive impact on Congress's phase III stimulus bill (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – or CARES Act) that finally passed Friday afternoon.

The package is the largest relief effort passed by Congress totaling $2 trillion. It is very complicated and we’re still trying to navigate through it to better understand the overall impact it will have on credit unions and our members. We do know that our efforts last week will help credit unions remain in a position to serve their members and communities during and after the crisis.

We also know that businesses and nonprofits in North Dakota and South Dakota have been approved for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Businesses will be able to borrow money through the program so that they continue to operate, including, eight weeks of payroll, utilities, rent, and certain other business expenses that may be forgivable if businesses keep their staff employed.

Senator Rounds (SD) noted over the weekend that the bill is not perfect, but it gets resources to state and local governments and to our local businesses, both large and small, where it is needed immediately. The bill also removed several regulatory barriers so businesses can get people the help they need. Please note as a result of this bill, the SBA is now required to establish regulations no later than 15 days after the March 27, 2020 enactment date of this legislation. Once these regulations are officially established, we will have more information on how you and your members can participate.

CUAD is working with regional SBA offices in Sioux Falls and Fargo on how credit unions can access these programs for their business members. It is our goal to host a credit union specific webinar sometime this week with the agency, so stay tuned. In addition, we have been invited to participate in a conference call with North Dakota Governor Burgum later today to discuss relief efforts for our rural and farming members.

Finally, we want to know what you’re doing for your members during this crisis. Look for an email and brief questionnaire from me later today. The short fillable PDF survey should only take a few minutes to complete. We will collect the data and share it with our partners at CUNA and AACUL as we continue to advocate on your behalf.

Thanks for all that you do for your members and communities.  

Be safe and healthy!

Jeff

 

 

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