by Jeff Olson, President/CEO
Greetings and Happy Monday!
Even though we celebrated President’s Day last Monday, today is officially George Washington’s birthday – well, sort of. A little-known fact that we were not taught in grammar school history class was that George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731 according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved Washington's birthday a year and 11 days to February 22, 1732. I happen to share that birthday with our nation’s first Commander in Chief, and I have always been proud of that little bit of trivia.
While I like having birthdays and consider them a blessing and a time for introspection, I am not into big celebrations on my behalf, much preferring to celebrate the special days of family and friends. For me, birthdays provide a humble and peaceful sense of calm. For the better part of the last 12 years, my birthday often fell while I was in Washington, D.C. attending the CUNA GAC with thousands of other credit union advocates. For those of you that have ever attended that conference, you know that the days at the GAC are jam-packed with meetings and activities and there is certainly no time to celebrate one’s birthday! So, I have become accustomed to having a rather subdued birthday.
Fast forward, and times are obviously different. We are still functioning under uncertain circumstances and many of our normal activities, such as the CUNA GAC event, have shifted to a virtual platform this year. So, for a change, I am home for my birthday. When I went into the kitchen this morning to grab my morning coffee before heading to the office, I found my daughter had spent the better part of last evening filling the house with balloons and signs recognizing my special day! An unexpected and fun blessing to start my day, and I have to say it’s really good to be home for a change on my birthday!
Calling all North Dakota Credit Union Advocates!
Last Thursday, HB 1366, a bill that has an impact on credit unions and strengthens the auto dealers, implement dealers, and any repair shop’s lien position passed out of the House Transportation Committee with a unanimous “do pass” vote. Working closely with the North Dakota Bankers Association, the Independent Community Banks of North Dakota, and Farm Credit Services, we attended last week’s hearing and offered a solid solution to a very one-sided proposal. In fact, our amendments significantly improved the bill and provided proper and uniform protections for repair shops, secured lien holders, as well as protections for the consumer. All our amendments except one were approved and added to the bill.
We invested a significant amount of time into approving this proposed policy, and the result is a better bill. The agreed-upon amendments also deal with provisions and protections that are required under Uniform Commercial Code, which the bill had lacked.
Unfortunately, in a last-minute effort, the Automobile Dealers attached amendments that had not been a part of the original bill and clearly favor their one industry over ours, in addition to not being consumer friendly.
What this means for credit unions: Repairmen would now be able to add up to 60% more repair costs onto a piece of property before they would have to notify any of the other lienholders. Dakota Credit Union Association was not given a chance to comment on these amendments before they were attached to the bill and passed out of committee. Based on final action by the committee we have no other option than to oppose HB 1366 in its entirety.
Here is where we need your help: ACTION NEEDED!
Please ask your legislators to VOTE NO on HB1366. While the bill came out of committee with a “do pass” recommendation, we believe that we can get the final amendments out of the bill as it heads to the Senate. Therefore, it is important to convince our state House members to vote against this bill as it is presented on the floor.
Please have your team members, volunteers and credit union members reach out to their state House member on our Voter Voice Grass Roots action platform and encourage a NO vote on HB 1366. The platform clearly spells out our reason for opposition. Engagement from your team is important and necessary so please act today! We anticipate the vote on the floor later this week.
CULAC Impact Report Available Now.
As we reported earlier this month, North Dakota placed first and South Dakota placed third nationally for CULAC fundraising by far exceeding goals for 2020. As Chair of the Federal Political Action Committee (CULAC), I am extremely proud and thankful for the support we have in the Dakotas.
I am also very proud of the work CULAC has done this past election cycle to advance the credit union movement and protect our champions in Congress. I believe that transparency is paramount in the leadership of our PAC and I am honored to share the first biannual CULAC Impact Report, highlighting CULAC’s mission and who we supported in the most recent election.
The credit union industry is stronger because of our organized advocacy efforts. If you would like to learn more about how you can support our efforts in the Dakotas, be sure to contact me or Jay Kruse.
Three Events and Three Months to Keep in Mind.
Now that 2021 is off and running, it’s time to plan your schedules accordingly. Approaching rapidly are three excellent educational events for credit union professionals. I encourage you to consider these opportunities.
CUNA GAC March 2 – 4. No need to travel this year as you can attend the biggest credit union event of the year from the comfort of your own office or home at a greatly reduced rate of just $445 per attendee. The rate drops to $295 for small credit unions or if you register four or more individuals from your credit union.
Ctrl+Alt+Innovate April 7 – 8. This innovative conference is the result of a collaboration with eight Midwest leagues and associations. Here, you can advance your fintech knowledge, power your financial growth, and position your credit union for the future. Two half-days for just $99!
Annual Summit May 3 – 4. Don’t miss DakCU’s biggest event of the year, with outstanding educational sessions, including credit union law and compliance, succeeding in a competitive market, HR hot topics, as well as industry economics and leadership development. Along with our Annual Business Meeting and elegant Awards Banquet, this is the one event you don’t want to miss. I know that our entire staff is looking forward to reconnecting with you.
Have a great week! Thank you for your active engagement and continued support.
Jeff Olson, President/CEO
Dakota Credit Union Association
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