The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and Happy Monday!


One thing for certain is that fall is in the air. Nights are getting longer, days are getting shorter, and it's getting much cooler across the Dakotas these days. Now, we can focus our attention on the beauty of autumn as the leaves turn from green to gold, yellow, orange, and red. As we enjoy the season, we also look forward to the opportunity to reconnect at the association’s Annual Summit which is just a few weeks away, October 5-6, in Sioux Falls, SD.  


Late last week, I received a call from Frank Diekmann, Cooperator-in-Chief and reporter at CUToday (a digital credit union specific publication) regarding our Summit meeting. The inquiry was initiated as it appears we are the only league still planning on hosting an in-person meeting this year. We anticipated moving forward with our meetings would probably grab some sort of attention, so we were not surprised to get the call.


My response to CUToday was very straight forward. We have no idea when this COVID-19 crisis will end, and no one can predict it. However, one day, someone is going to take the leap (leap of faith or walking the plank – to be determined) and hold an in-person meeting again. Our decision to move forward with our annual meeting doesn’t mean that we are downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic; it means that we trust our members to make a personal decision that is best for them and their situation. Unless you are still “sheltered in place” at home 24/7, the risks are essentially the same anywhere you choose to be in the Dakotas.


We have had the good fortune of keeping our two states and businesses open throughout most of the pandemic and we’re optimistic this will continue. Dakotans have taken personal responsibility to heart and most have done a good job following the recommended protective guidelines. We expect that credit union professionals will continue to do that come October. As we have shared, we will be taking all precautionary health and safety measures into account as we prepare to host the Summit, as we will for future events.


The bottom line is that we can hold in-person events again by mitigating the risks and protecting ourselves at the same time. Not only do we have great LIVE keynote speakers and breakout sessions planned, but we also have two major announcements we want to share with you during our opening session. If you want to be “in the know” firsthand, you’ll just have to be there!


As I have repeatedly said, the case to meet in person is a strong one; we are social creatures and we crave personal connections. I’m certainly looking forward to reconnecting with many of you at the Summit. Today, my personal message will be posted on your association’s social media platforms, and you can also view the message here.


It’s a big week as we host virtual regulatory Hike the Hill meetings.


This is also the time of year when we take a week out of our busy schedules to meet with our industry regulators and policymakers during our fall Hike the Hill event. You still have time to register, and I sincerely hope you take advantage of this opportunity to participate in our virtual meetings this week: CFPB - Tuesday, September 15 at 1:00 p.m. CT; and NCUA Director Harper – Friday, September 18, 9 a.m. CT.


Like our in-person meetings, the virtual HTH will provide Dakota CU leaders the opportunity to share concerns and issues impacting your credit union and individual members, especially as we all try to navigate operations through this pandemic. Specifically, CU professionals will have a unique and rare opportunity to meet with key personnel from the NCUA and CFPB.


Sharing the stories of how the decisions made in Washington, DC impact your members is important and necessary in our 360-degree advocacy efforts, as many of these decisions have unintended consequences that harm consumers and are directly preventing credit unions from serving their members. These meetings are FREE but you do need to register in advance to receive the link for each meeting.  


Healthcare Trust update.


South Dakota credit unions interested in joining the association’s Health Benefit Trust plan have until next Tuesday, September 22nd to get penciled in. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have made a commitment; you still have time and the option to opt-out. However, we do need to have a solid idea of prospective participants as we complete our waiver application with the South Dakota Insurance Department. On a side note, North Dakota participants will be receiving their 2021 prospective rates before the end of the month.


Have a great week!





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