The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and Happy Monday!

Last week, the Washington Post ran a story with the headline “North Dakota businesses dominated the PPP.”  The article was highlighting that North Dakota “put business lenders in the rest of the country to shame.” How so?

Well, as the program was struggling to get launched, North Dakota small businesses appeared to have an advantage in organization and administration, thanks to the leadership of Bank of North Dakota. Rightly so, as even before the PPP officially rolled out, the bank coordinated and educated lenders with weekly conference calls and flurries of emails. I know many of you took part in their informational webinars. What BND successfully accomplished was to connect credit unions and other small lenders with our congressional delegation and the Small Business Administration, and thus became the “one-stop” clearinghouse for information and details on the CARES Act stimulus program. Having sat in on many other PPP webinars, the BND coordinated guidance and information was clearly superior. In fact, we here at the association shared their webinar links with all our members.

The article listed North Dakota as having over 5,000 PPP loans processed, with over 4,000 of those coming in round one of the PPP. South Dakota was also a top performer, ranking tenth overall at just over 4,500 loans. While the overall loans of the PPP are still being processed, we have been trying to get an idea of how engaged Dakota credit unions were in the process. We asked Dakota credit unions at the conclusion of phase one of the PPP, and here is what we know so far.

With less than 20 credit unions reporting, we are estimating that Dakota credit unions processed around 1,170 PPP loans totaling more than $52.8 million. These are rough estimates based on information we received from our member survey prior to the launching of Phase 2. We are still waiting to hear from some of our members and we will continue to circle back to get a more accurate picture of how Dakota credit unions helped their local business members.

Member Survey: How are Dakota credit unions helping members? Updates are wanted.

We still need your help, and we are asking you to please participate in our survey. If you have already taken our survey, be sure to send any updates or your final PPP numbers to me at so we can aggregate the data and share with our congressional leaders and our partners at CUNA. 

There are many ways credit unions here in the Dakotas provided aid to their members and communities affected by COVID-19. If you haven’t provided us with your information, please take the online survey so we can share with lawmakers and our system partners at CUNA. This information will help us develop a message about how your credit union is assisting members, your community, and employees during the crisis. Many of you were waiting to complete your PPP uploads and EIDL processing, so now is a good time to share and/or update that information. START SURVEY NOW

South Dakota Health Care Trust Virtual Town Hall this week.

Plans to offer and expand our employee Health Benefits Trust program to South Dakota credit unions are once again in play. Participating credit unions can better control costs and offer a financially attractive healthcare benefits option. Please join CUAD and Hays Companies for our South Dakota Credit Union Health Benefits Trust Town Hall on Thursday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. (CT) 1:00 p.m. (MT). Credit unions are free to have several staff members participate in the call, and you can register here.  

Key takeaways of an association health benefits trust:

  • A multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) is a way for a group of employers to pool their resources to get their employees better health-insurance options.
  • With a MEWA, several employers combine contributions in a self-contributing benefits plan, making payments based on the number of employees and the estimated costs.
  • MEWAs are particularly useful for small companies, allowing them to offer employee's benefits beyond the government-run health insurance exchanges by sharing risk.
  • We will have a South Dakota based Third Party Administrator.

During the call you will also hear from our new Health Benefits Consultant, Hays Companies. Following several months of research and due diligence, the CUAD Health Benefits Board of Trustees has entered into a consultation partnership with Hays Companies. The Trustees' ultimate decision to partner with Hays was based on their ability to provide our participants with experienced, in-depth self-funded expertise on risk pool management, reinsurance guidance, and on-staff certified health benefit actuaries. Hays has a reputable record in the marketplace, primarily in self-funded MEWA experience here in the Dakotas. Based in Denver, Hays Companies is one of the fastest-growing risk management, insurance, and employee benefits advisors in the country.

Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® campaign update.

As mentioned on our quarterly campaign update webinar earlier this month, CUNA will be restarting the paused digital campaign this week in most markets. Given the impact of the pandemic crisis, strategically deployed A/B message tests will allow us the opportunity to make adjustments that will optimize engagement and align with the evolving consumer environment. As always, visit the Contributor HQ for the latest sharable assets and the Facebook Community Group for tips and the latest information. All contributors can also check out the Campaign Re-Engagement FAQs or contact Lori Welder for more information.

A sincere “Thank You” message!

Finally, I wanted to share this heartfelt video Thank You message from the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) for your tremendous leadership, energy, and impact in helping your members, communities, and our system every day, especially through all the challenges of this crisis. Have a great week!



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