The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
6/29/2020

Greetings and Happy Monday!

 

I want to begin the week with some great breaking news this morning. We have just received word that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied an appeal from the American Bankers Association (ABA) to review the NCUA’s field of membership (FOM) rules. This decision by the Supreme Court ends an almost four-year legal battle by the ABA against the NCUA. This is terrific news and a huge win for credit unions and consumers here in the Dakotas and across the nation. More to come as this news unfolds, but it’s a very positive way to start the week!

 

SE605 Chapter golf event another success for credit unions.

 

After months of working remotely or practicing social distancing when working from the office, it was certainly great to reconnect with credit union folks at the South East 605 Chapter’s Charity Golf outing in Sioux Falls last week. Congratulations and a heartfelt “thank you” to the Chapter leaders and golf tournament organizers for hosting another fun and successful event. There were over 80 golfers and 20 teams participating this year. Each year, the Sioux Falls area credit unions participate in this event which supports Feeding South Dakota, and once again, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas was a proud sponsor and participant. This is a great example of how credit unions support and advance our local communities. The day provided a much-needed opportunity to gather, network and share with peers and colleagues again; after all, we are all social creatures and crave personal connections and interactions. I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with many of you at one of our upcoming education and conference events, which you can see here on our website.

 

More golf fun on the CUAD summer agenda!

 

Make plans today to reconnect with your Dakota credit union friends and colleagues at the 4th Annual Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas Golf Scramble scheduled for August 21 at the Jamestown Country Club. All proceeds go directly to our Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas (CUFD) and help to provide scholarships, community and social impact grants, financial health and education grants, and support for children's charities in the Dakotas. Your participation supports the CUFD’s efforts to engage in our local communities while creating more awareness of credit unions as a better financial services option for consumers. You can organize your own team, or if you don’t have one, we are happy to place you on one. As a reminder, the Early Bird Discount ends this Friday – so be sure to sign up soon.

 

Expect Congress to address PPP forgiveness this week.  

 

Earlier this month, CUAD joined the North Dakota Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers, as well as with a dozen other trade associations, in asking Congress to streamline the process for small loans associated with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness application. Currently, the SBA estimates that each loan forgiveness application will take up to three hours to complete! This means many businesses will struggle to complete these applications in a timely manner due to the technical and burdensome process. We believe it would best serve the interests of small business owners and the policy objectives established by Congress to consider making the loan forgiveness process easier for smaller borrowers whose businesses were directly impacted by COVID-19.

 

One solution Congress is considering is a de minimis threshold under which borrowers with outstanding loans may receive 100% PPP loan forgiveness through completion of a “PPP-EZ form” – a simple one-page attestation – acknowledging that they spent the majority of PPP funds to preserve the jobs of their employees as outlined in the guidance and consistent with their PPP application. Simplifying the forgiveness application process for the smallest borrowers will provide additional relief to struggling small businesses by eliminating the existing requirement to spend hours dealing with unnecessarily complicated paperwork, performing calculations, or expending precious dollars on consultants in order to comply.

 

The prospective bill would:

 

  • Provide Forgiveness for covered PPP loans of less than $150,000, if the borrower submits a simple, one-page attestation form to the lender.
  • The lender shall be held harmless from any enforcement action if the borrower’s attestation contained any falsehoods.
  • The borrower attestation will include a means by which a borrower, on a voluntary basis, will provide the following demographic information: sex; race; ethnicity; and veteran status of owner.  

Quick breakdown of PPP numbers - including the Dakotas.

 

The SBA reports that 3.7 million loans were $150,000 or less, accounting for 85% of all PPP loans, but only 26% of the program’s dollars, or approximately $132.4 billion. The average credit union’s PPP loan in North Dakota was around $33,300, while the average PPP loan at South Dakota credit unions was just over $28,800.  The largest credit union loan reported in South Dakota was $3 million and the largest credit union loan reported in North Dakota was for $1.7 million.

 

The current cost of forgiveness application:

  • Small Business Cost: $2,000 per loan less than $150,000
  • Bank Cost: $500 per loan to evaluate forgiveness eligibility

Prospective legislation to automatically forgive these loans would save:

  • Small Businesses nearly $7.4 billion in costs.
  • Banks approximately $1.8 billion in costs

We anticipate that a bill will be dropped in the Senate either today or tomorrow.  Be sure to check out the Legislative Update with Jay Kruse in the Memo on Wednesday for any breaking information or updates. 

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

I want to wish you all a happy Independence Day! Most certainty this year’s celebration will have a different feel. Despite all the challenges that have been thrown at us, independence is a valuable blessing that we should enjoy and appreciate. Let’s all take time this week to understand what freedom means to us. I will be taking some much-needed time off this week and later this month. Some of it will be spent at home on a “staycation” with a stack of books that I have been intending to read. Happy 4th of July to you all, have a healthy and safe week!

 

Jeff

 

 

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