The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
9/21/2020

Greetings and Happy Monday!

It’s countdown Monday as we are just 14 days away from the 2020 Summit! We are also just 43 days away from the 2020 general election. I hope that many of you will be joining us for our live, in-person meetings in Sioux Falls October 5-6 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. I’m pleased to share that our registration numbers are looking quite good with nearly 100 individuals already signed up. This is outstanding, but there is certainly room for more – and the best part – you can still register!

We have some outstanding keynote speakers and breakout sessions planned, plus we have two major announcements we want to share with you during our opening session. So, if you want to be in on the news firsthand – you’ll definitely want to be there!

As I have previously shared, we can hold in-person events, we can mitigate risks, and we can protect ourselves all at the same time. We trust that you’ll make personal decisions that are best for you and your situation. I’m looking forward to reconnecting two weeks from today!

 

Dakota Regulatory HTH a Huge Success.

I want to thank all our members that took advantage of the opportunity to meet virtually with Director Todd Harper, NCUA, and with the leadership from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last week. Nearly 70 Dakota Credit Union advocates engaged in the two virtual events!

 

While the format was a little different than previous years, this marked our 10th such fall event. Each year our HTH evolves with current issues, but more importantly, it gives our participants the opportunity to put a personal context on issues that we can’t get with a phone call, letter or email. To continue to be effective credit union advocates and stand out among all the clutter of other competing special interests in Washington, DC we need to stay engaged throughout the year. We are already making plans to return to DC in the fall 0f 2021 for in-person meetings.

 

Credit Union Members Vote.

With mail-in voting and early voting set to open in many places, the November election is all but underway. In fact, absentee voting has already begun in South Dakota and in North Dakota, absentee ballots requests are underway. North Dakota voters can also vote before Election Day as the early voting period runs from October 19 to November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your members to cast their vote. In case you missed it, our partners at the Credit Union National Association hosted a webinar last week on the “Credit Unions Vote” Member Activation Program (MAP) campaign. You can still access the recorded version for free. The webinar reviews the campaign and gives an overview of the current templates you can use at your credit union. Don’t forget to send members to CreditUnionsVote.com for the latest information. The credit union movement has a role to play in the election process and we want to make sure you and your members are engaged and ready to vote.

 

Dakota CUPAC Contributions Help Credit Union Friendly Candidates.
Thanks to the support of hundreds of credit union leaders, employees and volunteers from across the Dakotas each year, the Credit Union Political Action Committees from both states (ND/SD CUPAC) provided a total of 108 campaign contributions totaling nearly $35,000 this election cycle. Over the last decade, our state PACs have provided a combined 838 contributions totaling $212,000. In North Dakota, that’s an average contribution of $280 per candidate contribution, and in South Dakota that average is $226 per contribution. 

Your support and engagement in our CUPAC and CULAC programs are important and necessary. One of the realities for credit unions is that we are only one vote away from losing what makes us a unique and beneficial financial choice for Dakotans. Like it or not, there are people who want to put credit unions out of business. CUPAC and CULAC are successful, non-partisan political action committees that play a relevant and significant role here in the Dakotas and on the National level by providing funding to candidates that support credit unions and understand our mission of serving our members. The voluntary individual contributions collected from credit union supporters through a modest payroll deduction each month go a long way in supporting all our credit unions here in the Dakotas. Be sure to reach out to Jay Kruse at jkruse@cuad.coop to learn more.

CUNA and The League System are #1 – Again!
As you may have already seen here in the Memo and in many trade publications, the CUNA-League advocacy system was named the leading financial services association representing the interests of our members. For the fifth year in a row, an independent study of Washington policymakers by Ballast Research found the CUNA-League System is viewed as the most influential and the most effective financial services organization in the Beltway. The CUNA-League System outperformed its peers in all areas of advocacy, including all bank and credit union groups in the study, to be ranked the #1 financial services association for reporting accurate and reliable research and data. 
 
Was does this all mean? It means that we are passionate about improving the financial welfare of our members and we successfully advocate every day for the credit union movement. While the recognition is nice and we should celebrate this accomplishment, there is always more to do. Let’s continue to live up to the high standards we’ve set for ourselves so more Dakotans see that credit unions are the better financial choice for themselves and for their communities.

Have a great week!

Jeff

 

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