The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
7/27/2020

Greetings and Happy Monday!

Last Thursday, July 23rd, marked my 12th year here at the association. Not to sound cliché, but time sure does fly, especially when you’re having fun and really enjoy what you do every day. I came into the credit union movement just before the housing collapse and financial meltdown in 2008. In fact, things really went south in the financial service sector within my first 60 days on the job. So, it was sort of “baptism by fire.” Here we are, a dozen years later and who would have predicted that we would be amid a pandemic that has impacted our industry and our personal lives.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be your partner and lead the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas at such a critical time for our industry and for our individual members. We will continue to strive to earn your trust every single day and work hard to be the best advocate for credit unions and your members, providing value and increasing our relevancy to Dakota credit unions of all sizes. Credit unions truly are the best financial choice for consumers, families and communities. Thank you for your confidence and continued support.

Objects in your rearview mirror, are closer than appear!

The end of this month also marks the half-way point on the CUAD calendar, so I am using today’s article as a sort of our “mid-term” report. Put simply, this year our strategic objectives and plans have been tossed into the shredder bin.

We all have had to pivot this year, finding ways to support our members through unprecedented times. We had to focus on our members' financial health and well-being, and provide them with tools and resources that help them navigate through this current crisis. Credit unions are always there for their members and their communities, in good times, and in bad. This has never been more evident than during the last five months. Initially, we focused on and engaged with our congressional lawmakers on assistance and a stimulus bill to help boost the economy and help Americans weather the financial impact of the pandemic. We continue to work with regulators and members of the House and Senate on extending troubled debt restructuring, Central Liquidity Facility (CLF) expansion, providing liability protection, streamlining PPP Loan forgiveness, allowing remote notaries, and providing member business lending flexibility.

Since the start of this crisis, the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas began gathering information from you, soliciting feedback through surveys, personal contacts, virtual meetings, and monitoring your social media platforms. The swift actions taken by Dakota credit unions to help their members through this crisis is a real-life example of the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.” Our credit unions are putting into action the credit union difference and demonstrating how we advance and positively impact our respective communities. I hope you take the time to read the article by Shawn Brummer in today’s Memo, as it highlights many of your extraordinary actions.

Virtual Leadership Town Hall with Governor Noem set for tomorrow.

July has been a busy month here at the association and things are not slowing down. Last week we announced our plans to host our fourth Dakota-wide Virtual Leadership Town Hall on Tuesday, July 28th at 10:00 a.m. CT. It’s been several weeks since our last one, so it’s time to touch base and provide updates on several important and timely items that are on everyone’s radar. As we shared last week, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will be joining us briefly on our call.

Please note: This Town Hall is an invite-only event; all Dakota CEOs and managers should have received their invite already. If you did not, or if you want others on your team to be included, please circle back to me today at jolson@cuad.coop.

We will have discussion and updates on several items, including: 2020 CUAD Annual Meeting / Summit in Sioux Falls; Alloya “re-connect” Summit Scholarships; CU Professionals Roundtable; Foundation Golf Outing, August 21, @ Jamestown CC; Election Update / Legislative Chapter Meetings; Legislative / Regulatory Updates; ULEND Academy; Small CU Webinar Series; CUPAC/CULAC Raffle; Q & A.

Regarding the 2020 Summit: The association has been continually reviewing the situation with the pandemic and the feasibility of holding our in-person annual convention in Sioux Falls, October 5-7. As of today, are plans are still a “Go.” We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed if there are any changes. All recommended precautions and safety protocols will be implemented at the meeting facility to ensure that attendees are protected and safe.

Senate likely to confirm Hauptman to NCUA Board before August recess.

On Friday, the Senate Banking Committee held a confirmation hearing on Kyle Hauptman’s nomination to the NCUA board. In an email exchange with Senator Cramer’s office over the weekend, they anticipate hearing that the final confirmation vote may happen sometime this week. If confirmed, Hauptman will mark the third and final Trump nominee to be appointed to the board until at least August of next year. Many credit unions see Hauptman as a regulatory critic and are supporting his nomination. However, since he was strongly opposed to the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform legislation in 2010, Hauptman’s nomination could be contested, and his confirmation may come down to straight party-line support.

Hauptman said his priorities at NCUA would be: (From CUNA News)

  • Managing the fallout from the current pandemic and economic downturn, as “credit unions were chartered to serve those of modest means, and I plan to work with them, the Board and Congress on solutions for those facing financial stress;”
  • Technology, specifically to “expand technology’s role in reaching the underserved;”
  • Aligning incentives. As an example, he noted an “excellent policy that serves as a model here is the less-frequent exam cycle for credit unions that get the highest marks on their NCUA exams for safety and stability. This policy lets regulators focus on more problematic credit unions, while the well-run credit unions strive to keep earning that benefit. This is policy where safety and soundness are well-aligned with serving members.”

Still time to sign up for the Foundation’s Golf Scramble.

 

There is still time for you and your credit union to get your team together for the Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas’ Annual Golf Scramble. The event is Friday, August 21st at the Jamestown Country Club in Jamestown, North Dakota. Our last three golf outings have successfully generated nearly $35,000 in revenue for our foundation! This is always a fun day on a beautiful golf course, all for a great cause. Money raised from this event helps support the foundation’s mission to build awareness of credit unions while advancing our communities through support of children’s charities, social impact organizations, financial education, and educational scholarships throughout the Dakotas. Register your team or individual player here. If you are unable to attend, contributions are greatly appreciated.

 

I’m looking forward to connecting with many of you through our Virtual Town Hall tomorrow!

Have a great week! 

Jeff

 

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