The President's Perspective
by Jeff Olson

Greetings and Happy Monday! Here we are at the end of January already, which means we are just that much closer to spring… maybe!

Last week, President Joe Biden was sworn in as our 46th President. With the new administration in office and the full Senate sworn in, policymakers are now ready to focus on the economic state of our country. What does that mean for credit unions?  Well, it means it is time to get to work – and it is time again for credit unions to tell your stories.

Last year was challenging for all Dakotans. Each one of us has had our share of struggles and uncertainty. Fortunately, for one out of three Dakotans, credit unions have been there to meet their financial needs. You have gone above and beyond for members facing a once in a lifetime pandemic, and now it is time to turn that success into a better future for the credit union movement.

At this moment, Congress and the administration are working on recovery policy and legislation. We anticipate that bills will be introduced at a fast and furious pace at the start of the new Congress, and the more we engage, the harder it is to ignore our recommendations.

The Dakota Credit Union Association, along with our partners at CUNA, are preparing our legislative and regulatory advocacy agenda that will fight back against any tax threats from state legislatures coping with budget shortfalls.

If you haven’t yet seen it, please check out our video welcome message that was recently emailed directly to all State legislators in Bismarck and Pierre.

Welcome Explorers Credit Union!

Please join me in welcoming April Tompkins, CEO of Explorers Credit Union (Yankton, SD), and her staff to the Dakota Credit Union Association and CUNA families. Explorers was chartered as Services Center FCU in 1962. Today the credit union has over 8,000 members, nearly $85M in assets, and operates four branches: Yankton; Tea; Parkston; and Springfield in South Dakota. They plan to expand soon into Nebraska. Check out their website and their terrific rebrand video here. Welcome Explorers FCU! We are looking forward to your partnership and active engagement!

Crasher Deadline Extended.

We were informed late last week that the date has been extended for those who wish to CRASH the GAC. Applications will now be accepted until January 31, 2021! Crash the GAC (March 2 – 4) is an incredible opportunity for young credit union professionals to attend at NO COST. During the special Crasher program, up and coming credit union leaders will learn how to advocate for credit unions to their congressional representatives, while receiving additional professional development and networking experience. Apply here.

Time to meet in Person! 2021 Summit Planned in Fargo.

Even as things remain uncertain as we enter a new year, we are looking forward to reconnecting with you in 2021. We are planning on hosting several exceptional in-person educational conferences and opportunities, beginning with our Annual Summit meetings, May 3 – 4, at the Delta Marriott Hotel and Convention center in Fargo.

This will be a live, in-person event and I am looking forward to seeing many of you there. I think it is safe to say that our staff is anxious to meet up with old friends as well! Details will be released soon – but please save the date. Also, be sure to visit our events page often to see our other networking & educational opportunities planned for the following months. In the meantime, we will continue to reach out and connect through digital channels and virtual platforms.

Virtual Town Hall This Week.

Last week I sent invitations via email to all credit union CEOs and managers for our 2021 kick-off Dakota Virtual Town Hall meeting. If you did not receive an invite be sure to contact me. The Zoom meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, January 27 at 11:00 a.m. (CT) and will last approximately 45 minutes.

Save the Date for Ctrl+Alt+Innovate!

Collaboration and cooperation are part of our guiding principles. The Dakota Credit Union Association is implementing that philosophy and has been collaborating with eight of our Midwest credit union leagues in promoting and sponsoring the Ctrl+Alt+Innovate virtual conference, April 7 – 8, from 9:00 a.m. to noon (CT) each day. Registration officially opens on February 8.

This new virtual offering is designed to position your credit union and help you advance with innovative fintechs that can power your financial growth. Our partner leagues are the Heartland Credit Union Association, Illinois Credit Union League, Wisconsin Credit Union League, Minnesota Credit Union Network, The Nebraska Credit Union League, and Montana’s Credit Unions. The cost for this game-changing event is only $99 per person so be sure to mark your calendars now. More information coming soon!

Paycheck Protection Program – Round 3.

Are your teams ready for the next round of Paycheck Protection Program loans? Our system partners at CUNA are offering a “PPP Reboot” webinar on January 27 which will dig into the details included in the new stimulus package that affect administration of the program for both new and existing borrowers. This webinar is free to CUNA members – learn more and register here.

Compliance Annual Year in Review Available with One Click!

Our partners at CUNA have compiled and released their annual Year in Review and Checklist, which is a quick and easy 2020 compliance checklist. The document included 39 new rules and amendments issued directly in response to the pandemic. In addition to the 2020 review and corresponding checklist, the credit union compliance team has created a comprehensive list of COVID-19 temporary provisions that are in effect.

I sincerely hope you remain engaged and involved with us this year – whether it is on a virtual platform or at an in-person event.

Make it a Great Week!

Jeff Olson

Dakota Credit Union Association


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