by John Alexander, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs
Paving the Way for the Future of Credit Unions: DakCU Staff Retreat
Fargo, North Dakota – On November 1st and 2nd, DakCU, a leading force in the credit union movement, orchestrated a transformative staff retreat in Fargo. Guided by the experienced leadership of President/CEO Jeff Olson and Chief Officer of Strategic Services George McDonald, this event assumed a pivotal role in the evolution of the credit union industry. A central theme of the retreat was the seamless integration of ViClarity, a cutting-edge tool that promises to revolutionize DakCU's compliance operations.
George McDonald assumed a prominent role during the retreat, emphasizing the indispensable nature of strategic partnerships in DakCU's ongoing journey. McDonald eloquently highlighted the significance of forging alliances and collaborations, underscoring their pivotal role in our association’s continued expansion and potential to bring about substantial change in the ever-shifting landscape of credit unions. Partnerships, he articulated, stand as the bedrock of DakCU's mission to cultivate unity and shared success among credit unions.
Nevertheless, a key revelation during the retreat was the introduction of ViClarity, a fundamental addition to DakCU's toolkit. ViClarity plays a crucial role in elevating compliance, auditing, and regulatory expertise, stressing the paramount importance of staying at the forefront of technology and regulatory support. This move underscores our unwavering commitment to serving member credit unions with greater efficiency and effectiveness. The incorporation of ViClarity secures DakCU's position as an industry leader, a testament to its forward-thinking approach.
Going beyond technological advancements, the retreat prompted deep reflection on the essence of DakCU and the irreplaceable value it brings to Dakota credit unions. The responses echoed our association’s core values, centered on advocacy, support, and the collective strength of credit unions. This reemphasized the vital role DakCU plays in uniting and empowering the credit union community.
The retreat also tackled concerns about the future of the league system, exploring ways to enhance efficiency in meeting the needs of member credit unions. These discussions reaffirmed DakCU's dedication to adapting to a rapidly changing landscape while remaining true to its mission.
As the retreat ended, our staff’s steadfast commitment to shaping the future of credit unions and strengthening association partnerships was palpable. This two-day event not only offered a platform for introspection but also set the stage for an exciting and promising year ahead. DakCU, an emblem of unity and progress in the credit union movement, remains dedicated to making a lasting impact in the industry.
Credit Unions Prepare for Potential Government Shutdown
As the specter of a looming government shutdown on November 17th casts a shadow once again, credit unions are emerging as bastions of stability and support for their members. With the threat of federal workers facing unpaid leave and government services grinding to a halt, credit unions are gearing up to provide assistance and reassurance during these uncertain times.
In North Dakota alone, an estimated 7,000 military service members are on active duty with an additional 11,600 serving in the Reserves and National Guard. In South Dakota, there are nearly 4,000 active duty service members, and upwards of 6,300 Nation Guard and Reserve members. Obviously, the potential impact of a government shutdown on Dakotans looms large.
Recognizing the challenges a government shutdown can pose, including financial instability and regulatory delays, credit unions are positioned to offer 0% interest loans, unsecured loans to cover lost paychecks, and waived fees to ensure the financial well-being of their members remains protected. As the threat of government services disruption looms, credit unions are proactively reviewing their operations to identify areas reliant on government programs, demonstrating their commitment to continue serving their communities effectively.
Embarking on a Financial Odyssey: DakCU's Advocacy Team Engages with Power Players in D.C.
In a compelling journey into the heart of Washington, D.C., on November 8th, DakCU's dynamic trio—Chesney Garnos, Jeff Olson, and I, went beyond the conventional meet-and-greet. Our destination was a collaborative session with the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). This rendezvous of significance unfolded in the corridors of power, where discussions spanned a spectrum of crucial financial topics. AACUL is the national trade association for the state and regional credit union leagues/associations throughout the United States. AACUL’s mission is to cultivate the success of individual leagues as well as the collective League System by supporting league efforts to advocate, communicate, collaborate and influence policy on behalf of credit unions nationwide.
Topics of Discussion.
From the intricacies of interchange and the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to navigating Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) 1033, exploring field of membership (FOM) dynamics, delving into grant discussions, covering the merging of NAFCU and CUNA, understanding Political Action Committee (PAC) intricacies, advocating for multiple critical issues, to dissecting a myriad of regulatory challenges—the discussions were not just an exchange of pleasantries. They represented a deep dive into the tapestry of financial matters shaping the future and things that are impacting the Dakotas as a whole.
For me, being a new staff member with DakCU, this experience transcended the confines of a typical journey through financial intricacies. It served as a valuable lesson in the dynamics of collaboration and advocacy.
Advocating for Accountability: The CDFI Fund Transparency Act
In the heart of Capitol Hill, essential conversations have taken center stage, thrusting the realm of credit union advocacy into the national spotlight. DakCU, a stalwart representative of Dakota credit union interests, has rallied behind a common purpose: to articulate crucial talking points concerning H.R. 3161, more widely recognized as the CDFI Fund Transparency Act. This bipartisan endeavor aims to heighten the levels of accountability and oversight within the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, thus enabling it to better cater to the financial service requirements of underserved communities.
H.R. 3161, the legislation in question, aspires to enhance the transparency and overall accountability of the CDFI Fund, equipping it to better serve underserved communities in the evolving economic landscape shaped by the aftermath of the pandemic. These discussions underscore the dedication of credit union advocates and the commitment of Senate staffers to advance the credit union mission and support communities.
Boosting Support for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
In a bipartisan endeavor to bolster opportunities for veterans and strengthen the role of credit unions in supporting small businesses, the Veterans and Member Business Loan Act (H.R. 4867 and S. 539) has emerged as a beacon of hope for veteran entrepreneurs. This legislation aims to lift credit union member business lending (MBL) caps for veteran-owned small businesses and exempt credit union member business loans to veterans, significantly enhancing veterans' access to loans as they embark on their journey to start and grow small businesses within their communities.
The support garnered from various stakeholders, including veterans' advocacy groups, business associations, credit unions, and community leaders, demonstrates the commitment to this cause. These talking points, presented to Senate staffers in the offices of Senators Cramer and Hoeven, aim to inspire bipartisan support for this vital legislation, reinforcing the nation's dedication to those who have served and its commitment to fostering economic growth in local communities across the United States.
Credit Union Modernization Act: Enhancing Board Meeting Flexibility and Opportunities
The Credit Union Modernization Act, H.R. 582/S.610, has passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support. This legislation offers a reduction in the number of required board meetings from 12 to 6 annually, granting credit union boards the flexibility needed to adapt to evolving financial markets and member needs. It addresses the challenges faced by credit unions in a rapidly changing financial landscape, ensuring they remain competitive while attracting diverse board members who can better serve their members.
Recent discussions with Hill staff regarding the Credit Union Modernization Act have marked a step towards its potential realization and the modernization of credit unions in the United States. The engagement has allowed for constructive dialogue and a deeper understanding of the proposed changes within the credit union sector as the bill awaits Senate approval.
Feel free to contact John Alexander with any advocacy questions or concerns.
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