I have had the privilege to work in the credit union movement for 15 years, and I can honestly say, I have never been prouder of our advocacy engagement than I was last week. On Wednesday, March 22nd, more than 40 credit union professionals from across the state navigated through fog and icy winter road conditions to meet with their state legislators in Bismarck to advocate on behalf of their credit union and their members in favor of SB 2266.
We began the day with a successful meeting with House Majority Leader Lefor from Dickinson. We also had a group that met with House Minority Leader Boschee from Fargo. A couple of other highlights were the two full buses of credit union advocates that Town and Country coordinated from their Minot and Fargo markets. I attended a couple of their discussions and they did a terrific job carrying our message.
Even though we had an impressive and successful day visiting with our local legislators, we still have a lot of work ahead and this week will be a critical juncture in our efforts. We need to maintain the momentum and continue to educate lawmakers on the need to allow state credit unions to grow and keep pace with federally chartered credit unions.
More importantly, this field of membership legislation will allow more North Dakotans access to more affordable financial service options. The bottom line here is that North Dakota credit unions have not aggressively asked for a statute amendment since 1983 when we were allowed to take public deposits. Like that successful effort, our ask this year is both reasonable and necessary.
Our hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 29, at 9:00 a.m. in the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee, which is day 54 of the legislative session. There are only 28 days remaining in the 68th legislative assembly.
We are at the cusp of passing a statute amendment that would provide North Dakota credit unions much needed relief on field of membership rules, and once again we’re soliciting your help and support in our efforts to get our House of Representative members to support SB 2266. Those advocates that came to the Capitol last week experienced just how difficult it is to get in front of our lawmakers. You have heard me say over and over that all politics is local and when a lawmaker’s constituency cares enough to be present and visit with them personally, they take notice.
While one would think that the merit of the bill is enough to get it passed, unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Credit unions across the Dakotas are in the “relationship banking” business and legislative policy work is all about “relationship advocacy.” It’s time to reach out to your local lawmakers any way you can.
Please share our Voter Voice grassroots tools to contact your House member with your team members, volunteers, and credit unions members
In addition, you can find talking points, flyers, and other resources to support SB 2266 here.
Feel free to reach out to me or Jay Kruse with any questions.
Dakota Credit Unions are safe and sound – and speaking out.
If you caught my article last week, you have already seen the op-eds on credit union safety and soundness we submitted to Dakota news outlets. (If not, you can find them here.) I am pleased to see that our member credit unions are also doing their part to reassure members that their money is safe.
Harold Hagen, CEO of Hometown Credit Union (Kulm, ND) was featured in American Banker, where he states he has been fielding questions from members regarding this very issue. "I have reassured them that we are well capitalized (over 15%), plus we have a large loan loss reserve (over 2% of total outstanding loans) that would more than cover our depositors,” he said. “We have solid liquidity now and many sources of additional funding should we need to access additional liquidity," he added.
Hagen is working on a memo that the credit union's staff can share with members to address these concerns, and the credit union is also assisting some members to legally structure their deposit accounts to maximize their NCUA insurance coverage.
Melanie Stillwell, CEO of Western Cooperative CU (Williston, ND) was featured in the Tioga Tribune and Crosby Journal, where she explained why field of membership expansion (SB 2266) is needed for North Dakota state chartered credit unions, in addition to reiterating that local oversight is invaluable to her agriculturally centered credit union.
And, Darla Schafer, Manager of Flasher Community CU (Flasher, ND), also expounded on the need for SB 2266 and why it is good for the community this credit union serves; her op-ed appeared in Mandan News.
These examples all help to get the “CU Difference” out to our members, potential members, and legislators. Be sure to share any examples of your own earned media with Shawn Brummer.
Custom Performance Reports available now.
The annual Custom Performance Reports are now available for each of our member credit unions. The reports will be shared with each credit union’s manager/CEO. Authorized credit union individuals can receive a digital copy of your specific report and/or the state-wide report upon request by emailing Paige Langhoff.
The reports highlight and measure many areas of performance, including loans, shares, fee and other income, capital analysis, and liquidity trends, just to name a few. The analysis helps credit unions assess their performance levels by comparing this year’s results with previous results, by comparing trends in relation to your peer group or other benchmark, and by graphical information that provide additional insight into your credit union.
These reports are provided bi-annually as a benefit of your DakCU membership.
Dakota CU Foundation launches Vacation Sweepstakes
Don’t forget – the Dakota Credit Union Foundation’s Vacation Sweepstakes is now officially open! Anyone from North or South Dakota may enter to win a dream vacation of their choice! You can find all the important details, official rules, and entry form here.
We are asking credit unions to help us promote this fundraiser. We have a marketing toolkit available by email request to Shawn Brummer complete with point-of-sale posters, banners, and social media graphics.
I am also asking CEOs/credit unions to help fund the purchase price of the sweepstakes prize. I have donated $100, and I challenge all CEOs to a match donation. Funding this prize will allow the foundation to retain more of the proceeds from this event, and we sincerely appreciate all the donations we have already received. This sweepstakes replaces the Foundation Wine Pull and will be the only direct ask to CEOs this year.
You can make a direct prize donation here.
Let’s have a great week!
The Memo is DakCU's newsletter that keeps
Want the Memo delivered straight to your inbox?