by Jeff Olson, President/CEO
“We are made kind by being kind.” ~Eric Hoffer
Last year, we hired Sam Glenn to speak at our annual meeting. Sam is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker. At the end of his presentation, he gifted me an original painting for simply being kind and polite to his staff. Sam calls this work “Grow through what you been through.”
I was overwhelmed by this gesture for several reasons.
Life throws us a lot of curves – and we all have our challenges and hardships along the way. I truly treasure this gift as it is a daily reminder that it’s not what I have been through that defines who I am, it’s how I get through it that has made me the person I am today. Thank you, Sam!
Another of my favorite quotes from the famous football coach Vince Lombardi says it best: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”
I believe we can say that 2022 was somewhat a return to normalcy. While Dakotans still have their share of struggles and uncertainty, credit unions have been there, improving their financial health and helping them meet their financial needs. We continue to put members first at a time when they desperately need our services. As we head into a new year, here is a snapshot of what we accomplished together in 2022.
The CUNA-League System is a strong as ever!
For the sixth year in a row, Ballast research named the CUNA-League system as the most influential financial services association in the beltway. In fact, the CUNA-League system was recognized as the top advocacy performer across all associations studied.
Not only did we succeed in promoting financial well-being for all and advancing the communities we serve, but we also accomplished big things in 2022. Together the CUNA-League system made progress on many longstanding priorities and laid the groundwork for further wins in the next Congress. Advocacy plays an all-important role in assisting credit unions in our efforts to serve members.
State-specific advocacy engagement highlights.
During the South Dakota legislative session, Dakota Credit Union Association (DakCU) monitored and tracked 14 industry-related bills. We also testified twice, on HB 1061 regarding the appraiser certification program and on HB 1289 regarding self-storage units.
This fall, we re-launched our “Pints and Politics” program. These highly successful events are credit union specific and bring our advocacy and grassroots efforts back to the local level – where the heartbeat of all politics lives. Our chapter program brought credit union professionals and state legislative representatives and candidates together for credit union education and advocacy awareness. All told, we traveled over 2,500 miles across our two states in just 40 days and shared the credit union difference with nearly 75 legislators and candidates.
This past primary and general election cycle we invested just under $43,000 on 153 legislative candidates and on leadership committees. These investments resulted in a 92 percent success rate in our supported candidates winning in South Dakota and an 88 percent success rate of our North Dakota supported candidates winning in November.
Regulatory and compliance advocacy and support.
In the area of compliance support, we responded and supported over 430 compliance calls. We currently have 130 Dakota credit union professionals, representing 46 credit unions, utilizing the League InfoSight resource – which is a dues-supported resource for our affiliated members. 42 Dakota credit unions are active users of CU PolicyPro – with nearly 900 logins last year. We provided support and resources with 51 compliance related articles and submitted 10 federal regulatory comment letters on your behalf to the NCUA, CFPB and The Federal Reserve Board.
With BSA compliance being a top priority for our regulators, DakCU Compliance staff completed 14 BSA Independent Reviews and provided BSA training, through in-person and virtual training platforms for 300 CU professionals this last year. DakCU hosted quarterly virtual compliance chats for 136 Dakota compliance professionals, and we also hosted an internal auditor roundtable this past year.
This year we relaunched and led a group of 10 Dakota Credit Union professionals on our Fall Legislative Hike-the-Hill which was highlighted with in-person meetings with Chairman Harper and board members Hood and Hauptman. We also hosted a private meeting with CFPB Director Chopra at Credit Union House.
State-wide Awareness Program (SWAP) achieving positive results.
We continue to build awareness and reach members and prospective consumers. We pivoted in 2022 and administered the nationwide CU Awareness Campaign in-house. The re-booted SWAP (state-wide awareness program) successfully added a multi-tiered advertising approach locally across the Dakotas. The result was more than 2.5 million impressions on our electronic, digital, and outdoor placements from April through October.
Communications and Social Media efforts continue to bring added value.
We launched our DakCU mobile app prior to the Annual Summit Meeting. This was our first app exclusively for affiliated members and an additional platform and resource to communicate to promote our events and communicate to our members.
Our upgraded website experienced an increase in on-line traffic with over 19,000 users and over 46,000 sessions registered last year.
Our digital Memo newsletter published 600 unique stories in 2022 and the Memo webpage had over 43,000 views. Our subscribers near 2,000 as we head into the new year!
DakCU’s social media platforms continue to draw attention. Our reactivated LinkedIn page saw an increase of 285 new followers last year alone, our Facebook followers are close to 1,200 and posts have garnered more than 81,000 impressions, while our Twitter followers also continue to grow.
We submitted and published three op-ed articles last year. We touched on league mergers and its impact on credit unions, we wrote about our efforts to get our recovered U.S. Central assets back from the NCUA, and we recently published an opinion letter on the Credit Card Competition Act that will actually have a negative impact on consumer and credit union members.
We issued 21 individual press releases last year which resulted in 60 unique stories in national credit union trade publications local news publications across the Dakotas.
Education and networking opportunities reach new engagement levels.
We continue to experience success with educational and networking events. We hosted the 5th annual MonDak CEO/Volunteer Roundtable in Las Vegas, our Annual Summit returned to pre-Covid participation numbers, and our New Ideas conference continues to be a big draw for our credit union professionals. All told – we hosted or collaborated on 6 educational events, including our ULEND Academy with CUNA Mutual Group, CU Professionals Roundtable, the Western States Credit Union Conference in Salt Lake City, UT, and we hosted a Large Credit Union Dialogue in Fargo this past summer.
In the area of leadership development, we are focusing on growing our DakCU iLead@11 Emerging Leader Program as well as our Summit Crashers program, along with creating strategic partnerships to help fund the programs for members.
Increased business partnerships help Dakota credit unions grow and succeed.
The Dakota Credit Union Service Corps researched and evaluated over 40 companies for potential partnerships and strategic alliances that provide tools and resources to help our affiliates meet their strategic operational objectives. This past fall, we successfully partnered with a fulfillment and mortgage services CUSO.
Foundation pivots to financial well-being for all mission.
Thanks to the tremendous support from our affiliated members, the Dakota Credit Union Foundation raised an impressive $37,782 in 2022. More importantly, the Foundation Board provided 19 financial awards and returned more than $24,000 in grants, scholarships, and other aid. These endowments support our mission of promoting financial well-being for all by providing support for financial education technology, financial counseling certifications, community financial education events for youth, and credit union employees professional development, in addition to supporting local CMN Hospitals and CU Aid.
Something to brag about: DakCU named among Top 12 Trade Association Websites.
DakCU was named as one of the Top 12 Trade Association Websites in 2022 by Personify, the professional platform we use to manage the association’s website. Personify partners with many types of organizations, including associations, chambers of commerce, charities, educational institutions, and other purpose-driven entities. Personify named DakCU as #8 on their list of “Top 12,” citing our association as an example to promote and facilitate education for members. “The best way to get your audience involved is to spotlight upcoming events, either on the homepage or through a dedicated events page. The Dakota Credit Union Association has done a great job of calling out upcoming events on a section of their homepage, as well as a dedicated space on the top navigation,” they said.
Dakota credit unions receive national recognition.
Several Dakota credit unions earned top CUNA Awards. These awards are very competitive and being selected at this level is an honor indeed. First, East River FCU (Madison, SD) received first place in the Dora Maxwell social responsibility category. We also had a second-place winner with Railway Credit Union (Mandan, ND) in the same category. In addition, we had two honorable mentions in the Louise Herring philosophy in action category for Postal Family FCU (Fargo, ND) and Town & Country CU (Minot, ND).
Make the most of 2023!
Your membership in DakCU entitles you to many dues-supported benefits that enhance your relationships with your own members. To meet the evolving needs of our credit unions, we continue to review and expand our value-added offerings while further streamlining our operations, providing you the tools, resources, and access to business solutions that can help your credit union continue to succeed. We encourage you to explore all that DakCU has to offer you in your service to your members.
As we continue to adapt to financial service disruptors and industry trends, we will keep you abreast by hosting many exceptional educational conferences and opportunities in 2023. Some of these are coming up very soon – be sure to check out our events section at dakcu.org for details.
We thank you for your continued confidence and support. Let’s make it a great 2023!
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