Legislative Update with Jay Kruse
by Jay Kruse, Chief Advocacy Officer
Happy South Dakota legislative day #21 and North Dakota legislative day #26! While things are quiet in the South Dakota legislature for credit unions, the same cannot be said for North Dakota.
Today is an extremely big day for North Dakota state chartered credit unions. One might argue, one of the biggest days in the past 40+ years. This afternoon, SB 2266, our North Dakota state chartered credit union field of membership (FOM) bill heads to the senate floor for a vote. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, the bill passed through the Senate Industry and Business Committee receiving a “do pass” recommendation on a 4-0 vote with one member absent.
Moving this bill through the Senate has been far from a smooth process with the North Dakota banking lobby strongly opposing the bill, using smoke and mirrors and plain untruths to muddy the waters for legislators as they continue to deal with an extremely large workload of nearly 1,000 bills this session.
You can see how we have factually responded to some of the myths being circulated by the bankers here: Truth vs Myths. During the bills first hearing, a third generation bank owner whose family has benefited from three generations of bank profits, even disregarded the importance of someone in her community getting a .25% lower loan rate from a credit union, voicing her concerns over the state’s lost tax revenue because her bank lost out on some profit. She stated, “It does have a negative impact on the local economy and the state in general.” That’s definitely an interesting argument to make if you ask me. We believe rate competition is a good thing for all North Dakotans!
Credit unions and banks are different. We operate under different business models; one not-for-profit and the other for-profit. If a financial institution of either group thinks the other’s business model has an unfair advantage, such as a tax exemption, the option exists, for that bank in this example, to convert over to a not-for-profit credit union charter. In fact, the Dakota Credit Union Association would do everything in our power to help that bank convert to a state charted credit union. After all we are THE champions of Dakota credit unions! We exist to serve credit unions in the Dakotas and their members.
If you haven’t seen our flyer that we have been using to illustrate to legislators how credit unions are different from banks, you can find it here: Credit Unions vs Banks Fact Sheet.
I want to send a huge shout out and thank you to our North Dakota Government Affairs Committee for their time commitment and hard work invested in leading the efforts to introduce SB 2266. In addition to our leader Jeff Olson, several of our credit union advocates including Tyler Neether, Town & Country CU; Paul Brucker and Chad Bartosh, Railway CU; Jon Griffin, Capital CU; and Scott Schwindt, Western Cooperative CU; as well as our lobbying friends at Olson/Effertz, have all been working the Senate floor and hallways urging lawmakers to support our efforts. It’s time for a full court press!
ACTION ALERT – Even if you have already reached out to your senator in support of SB 2266, it’s time to do it again! We have made it as easy as we possibly can.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me with any advocacy questions or concerns.
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