Greetings and Happy Monday!
Hopefully, most of you had the opportunity to spend the Easter holiday with family and friends. Unfortunately, many were still digging out from last week’s spring snowstorm that blanketed most of North Dakota. I was in Los Angeles early last week attending CUNA’s National Credit Union Roundtable meetings, along with Jerry Schmidt from Black Hills Federal and Steve Schmitz from First Community Credit Union. The spring storm sure had an impact on my travels and delayed my getting home by three and a half days. I managed to get an early morning flight out of Los Angeles to get ahead of the storm, but unfortunately, the storm hit Bismarck a little earlier than forecasted and I got stuck in Minneapolis for the remainder of the week. Thankfully, the storm didn’t’ travel southeast and I was able to be on the first flight back into Bismack. However, when I did manage to finally get back to Bismarck, I was not able to get to my home as most of the streets (and particularly the roads to my home) were undrivable until late Friday afternoon.
Speaking of the CUNA National Credit Union Roundtable, this is where the top 100 credit unions, as well as the largest credit union from each state, along with league executives, are invited to participate in a dialogue and share ideas on ensuring our relevance in the financial service industry, the future of advocacy, digital transformation (crypto currency), fin-tech and other financial service disruptors, and so much more. The was the first in-person event since 2019.
Interchange on our radar once again.
Locally, all our Dakota representatives are home in district meeting with constituents and community and business leaders, as Congress remains on their Easter break this week. We will be visiting in person with Senator Cramer and staff in Bismarck this week to discuss issues that are impacting credit unions and or our credit union members. One issue that is sure to come up is credit card interchange. Just before the Easter recess, a group of four lawmakers issued a letter to both Visa and Mastercard requesting they withdraw plans to raise credit and debit card fees. The letter was bi-partisan and was signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Tex.).
The letter focuses on potential fee increases by the two networks that would add to the increasing inflationary pressures that are currently burdening American consumers. The letter is indicative of a credit card interchange battle coming in the near future. Primarily, inflation, currently at a 40-year high, is impacting consumers at nearly every angle. We are all impacted by the rising costs at the gas pumps, in the grocery market, as well as purchasing a home. So, criticizing the inflationary adjustments to fees now under the pretense of helping consumers seems a little a bit hypocritical, particularly when numerous studies indicate retailers and merchants never did pass interchange savings on to the consumers as promised when the Durbin Amendment was approved a decade ago.
Cyber security on the NCUA Board agenda this week.
The NCUA Board meets this Thursday, April 21st, and will get a briefing and update on cybersecurity. The board will also get an update on the NCUA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern, will be available via livestream on the agency’s website.
State Attorneys General have different opinions on “Junk Fees.”
Last week, both Democrat and Republican state Attorneys General shared comments on the CFPB’s request for information regarding fees, or "junk fees," on consumer financial products and services. Many Democrat AGs focused their comments on conveniences fees, arguing against allowing consumers the option of paying a convenience fee to have their payment applied immediately, while Republican AGs commented on the “states’ authorities to regulate a variety of fees and the Bureau’s limited rulemaking authority in this space.”
Small CU Webinar Series available
I wanted to remind you of a free online program for smaller credit unions from CUNA. In this series, you will be introduced to business partners that are vetted and known to work well with smaller credit unions. Each month, small credit union-friendly providers will present how their offerings can enhance your service to members. This free series runs now through next December and sessions will be recorded so you can watch at your convenience. You can register here.
And, while we are talking about small credit unions, here is an upcoming event you should have on your radar! CUNA, along with DakCU, Mountain West CU Association, Montana’s Credit Unions, Utah’s Credit Unions and Credit Union Association of New Mexico will be holding an in-person “Western Small CU Conference” on July 17 – 19 in Salt Lake City, UT. Check out the schedule and agenda here and feel free to contact George McDonald, DakCU’s Chief Officer of Strategic Resources with any questions.
Summit Give Back project planned.
Each year at the Dakota Credit Union Association’s Annual Summit, we organize a “Give Back” project to benefit an organization within the community where our event is being held. This year in Rapid City, SD, we have chosen the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, Monument Health. After consulting with the Monument Health Foundation, it was determined that prepaid gift cards in increments of $25 would be appreciated and allow their foundation the flexibility to distribute to families in need at their discretion.
Each gift card will be presented to the Monument Health Foundation along with a postcard style greeting containing the message “Compliments of Dakota’s credit unions” and additional information about the benefits of belonging to a credit union. Your donation will go a long way in supporting a family experiencing a medical hardship, and as always, we thank you for your support.
Congratulations to Dakota West CU – Top 100!
I would like to send a shout out to Jeff Meyer and the crew at Dakota West CU in Watford City, ND. They were recently ranked by S&P Global Market Intelligence as one of the top 100 financially stable credit unions in the country for 2021. They were measured against 1,765 credit unions above $100 million in assets using five metrics: member growth, average loans per member, net worth as a percentage of total assets, delinquent loans as a percentage of total loans, and return on average assets. Congratulations on this great accomplishment!
Kudos to Bluestone FCU – “Best of the Best”
I also want to give a huge pat on the back to Jeff Jorgensen and his staff at Bluestone FCU. They just won MemberXP’s prestigious 2022 Best of the Best Award! The criteria for this recognition is based on data gathered directly from credit union members – both qualitative and quantitative data is gathered on a dozen key performance indicators through digital surveys and mystery shoppers. The credit unions receiving these top scores have demonstrated their strong commitment to providing extraordinary service, earning both the respect of peers and the loyalty of their members. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement!
Have a wonderful week!
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