The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Happy Monday!


Over the past few weeks, many of our Dakota credit unions have started to open lobby doors again, as many of our communities have been functioning under the “new normal” for quite some time now. Getting back to normal is something we Dakotans are craving. Heading to the lake, spending time outdoors, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, camping, picnics, family reunions, and back to business as usual. But navigating through a pandemic and social unrest has been challenging, to say the least, leaving us to ponder, what is the “new normal?”


What we all want today is safety, peace, prosperity, and a return to normalcy, if you will, even though “normalcy” was not considered a correct word, until Warren G Harding made it an acceptable social term. Harding first adopted the word during his presidential campaign in 1920, stating that he was for “normal times and a return to normalcy.” Many folks at the time thought the Senator from Ohio was tipsy and had a slip of the tongue during his stump speech. However, “a return to normalcy” soon became a successful campaign slogan, much to the chagrin of many who felt that normalcy was either a corruption of the word normality, or not even a proper word.


Here at the association, we are also looking to forward “a return to normalcy.” We are especially looking forward to seeing many of you in person again, perhaps at one of planned events or conferences we the have on the schedule this fall. After all, we are by nature social creatures, and getting together in person to network, learn and share is our preference. I don’t know about you – but I am suffering from “virtual meeting” fatigue, and I’m very much looking forward to connecting in person.


Here are some of the upcoming events still on the calendar, where I hope to see many of you:  


June 25 – Southeast 605 Chapter Charity Tournament in Sioux Falls;


August 21 – Annual Credit Union Foundation of Dakotas Charity Golf event in Jamestown;


Chapter Pints & Politics Legislative events;


October 5-7 – Annual Summit, Sioux Falls.


Another sign of “a return to normalcy” is Congress back at work, and busy looking into helping Americans with additional COVID aide addressing some of the social concerns. This week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will appear before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for a hearing entitled, “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress. You can tune in to the live hearing on Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CT) here at the Senate Banking Committee Link.  


"Operation Office Move" completed!


We are very pleased to report that the Credit Union Association’s move from the basement to the second floor in our building is complete. This past April, the CUAD Board of Directors approved the move and downsizing of the Bismarck headquarters office from 3600 square feet to 1800. CUAD began leasing the basement office space when we sold the building to Challenger Industries in 2012. We have been storing and accumulating items for the last 80 plus years – various files, documents, and miscellaneous items which were amassed from two state leagues and two separate buildings that we owned. So, as you can image, by reducing our space to half, we needed to do some serious organizing and cleaning. Pictured are Karla Clark and George McDonald, better known as “K&G Moving” in the old space, right after they finished a month-long project of clearing out the last of remaining items from the basement.


Please note, our address remains the same as it has been for the last 42 years: 2005 N. Kavaney Drive, the suite number is the only change: Suite 201.


Dakota credit unions help local businesses navigate through the COVID economic crisis.


The Treasury Department along with the Small Business Administration (SBA) released data on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last week. As of June 5, the SBA is reporting that there is still $130.5 billion available for small businesses in the program. In less than two months 5,458 financial institutions participated in the PPP process, where 4.5 million loans were approved for a total of $511.4 billion loaned to small businesses cumulatively through phase 1 and 2. Nationally, the average loan size is around $113,000.


Here in the Dakotas, several credit unions stepped in and helped their business members in securing PPP loans. Collectively, Dakota credit unions have originated 2,649 loans totaling just over $90 million dollars!


In North Dakota, 11 credit unions generated 1,358 loans totaling $53.4 million. That’s just over 7 percent of the total PPP loan volume recorded in the state (19,058) so far. North Dakota credit unions accounted for just over 30 percent of the total PPP dollars secured in North Dakota ($1.8 billion total). The largest loan in the state was $1.7 million and the average loan was just over $39,800.  


In South Dakota, 14 credit unions generated 1,291 PPP loans totaling $37.7 million dollars. That’s just over 6 percent of the PPP loan volume made in South Dakota (21,363), which is about 22 percent of the total PPP dollar amount secured in South Dakota ($1.7 billion). The average loan in South Dakota was around $21,400.


Congratulations to Mike Reisnour on his pending retirement.


On a personal note, I want to congratulate Mike Reisnour and wish him and Carolyn the best on his pending retirement as President/CEO of Dakota Plains Credit Union. The search for his replacement is being launched today, and you can read the complete announcement in today’s Memo.


I have known Mike since my very first day in the credit union movement. He has been actively involved in credit union advocacy for more than a decade, serving as North Dakota GAC chair for nine years, as well as CULAC Trustee. He traveled with me many times to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of credit unions and credit union members. He would drop everything and come to Bismarck to meet with staff or members of our congressional delegation while they were in district.


Under his guidance and leadership as GAC Chair, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas developed and implemented the state-wide Legislative Chapter Nights. These highly successful credit union specific educational and awareness events brought our credit union advocacy and grassroots efforts to the chapter level. There is no question that Mike’s personal involvement and leadership on the chapter program had a direct impact on its success and growth. I know this firsthand because he personally logged nearly 6,000 miles over three election cycles to help lead and participate in several of those events.  


Under his leadership as the state CULAC Trustee from 2010 – 2014, North Dakota credit unions increased their CULAC contributions by over 70 percent and the number of individual contributors increased by over 300 percent in four years. 


Mike’s experience and background as a credit union CEO and compliance/security officer were extremely valuable in the association’s efforts in reviewing, revising and modernizing the credit union administrative codes for state-chartered members. His “hands-on” leadership in that process included many hours of review and meetings with the DFI Commissioner and lead examiners, as well as soliciting feedback from state-chartered credit union leaders in the state.


We have all benefitted from Mike’s engagement, and I want to give him a heartfelt “thank you” for his service. You will be missed, my friend.


Have a great week,







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