Tomorrow marks the 87th year of the credit union movement! On August 10, 1934, hundreds of credit union leaders from across the country gathered in the remote mountain community of Estes Park, Colorado, and established the Credit Union National Association. I think it’s appropriate to reflect on that significant event with the words of credit union pioneer, Roy Bergengren, from a 1954 speech and notes that were discovered by his granddaughter. Bergengren had described a “false assumption that the average person was not entitled to normal money credit,” and the CUNA solution was found in people working together “to pool their savings, however small, to create normal credit without usury.” The credit union pioneer’s notes concluded with this prophetic comment, “May our children and our children’s children return to this spot from time to time over the years to renew their inspiration to carry on the war for economic opportunity.”
Temps and Advocacy Concerns Heating Up
I hope you’re staying cool and safe as your summer starts winding down. With the hot August temps, ongoing air quality issues due to wildfires, and the COVID variant on the rise around the country, there is a lot happening on the peripherals to consider as you focus on running your credit union and take care of your members.
August is also a critical month in our credit union advocacy concerns as Congress considers several important pieces of legislation that will have an impact on credit unions and our members. Along with prospective legislation on credit card interchange fees, CUNA and the Leagues have been working with the House Financial Services Committee on the Expanding Financial Access for Underserved Communities Act, a bill that would allow all federal credit unions to add underserved areas to their field of membership and exempt business loans made by credit unions to businesses in underserved areas from the credit union member business lending cap.
We hope to expand the definition of an underserved area to include any area that is more than 10 miles from the nearest branch of a financial institution. We’re also pushing back against barriers to accessible, safe, and affordable credit. Proposals to enact an “all-in” 36% rate cap on all consumer loans would have a chilling impact on the availability of credit.
The Senate worked through the weekend and approved the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. Now with the approaching summer recess and in-district work periods, we have a great opportunity to meet with members of our delegation. Our advocacy team will be working on setting up in-person opportunities for credit union leaders here in the Dakotas to meet with our elected officials. It’s important and necessary that we continue to be proactive on the advocacy front and share our stories and the impact potential legislation can have on our members.
Dakota Credit Unions Respond!
I want to give our Dakota credit unions a huge shout out for the terrific turnout and response to the recent CUNA credit card interchange survey. I know that it took some effort on your part to gather the necessary data requested in the survey. All told, Dakota credit unions were among the top five in the country in overall participation, matching or surpassing much larger states and leagues. Thank you! Overall, participation was far beyond what we hoped. The information we gathered will be tremendously beneficial for pushing back against any prospective credit card interchange proposals. CUNA is analyzing the data now and will have findings within a week or so.
#ILOVEMYCREDITUNION Creates Conversation Across Social Media!
I want to thank our Dakota credit unions for their active participation and support of the #ILOVEMYCREIDTUION social media blitz last week. We just received the final data on the social campaign that was spearheaded and coordinated by our friends at the Illinois Credit Union League. An astounding 22 million people were reached in 48 states and 9 countries, thanks to the participation of more than 700 unique credit unions and related organizations. Here in the Dakotas, I was very pleased to see we had nearly 30 credit unions joining in! Be sure to check out the related story in today’s Memo for more details.
Open Your Eyes Research Results & Webinar Series
The bi-annual consumer consideration and brand perception research results for the Open Your Eyes campaign are in. Overall, consumer consideration for credit unions in the U.S. has risen from 13% (2019) to 19% (Q2 2021). In addition, campaign contributors have gained more members than non-contributors since the campaign’s launch!
The CUNA Credit Union Awareness team, in partnership with their digital media firm The Sasha Group, is hosting a new Contributor Webinar Series to provide additional value to campaign contributors while increasing overall knowledge of digital marketing and the awareness campaign. The first event in the series is this Wednesday, August 11 and you can register here.
Important Reminders and Deadlines!
As we shared last week, Senator Cramer (ND) will be a special guest at our Town Hall Luncheon with CUNA President/CEO, Jim Nussle in Bismarck. This a great opportunity for credit union advocates to hear from the Senator and share our concerns on many financial service issues being discussed and proposed in Congress.
Be sure to register for the DakCU CEO Town Hall and Luncheon here. The Town Hall and luncheon with Jim Nussle begins at 11:30 a.m. on August 25th at the BSC Energy Center, 1200 Schafer Street, in Bismarck. There is no charge to attend this event.
Those attending the Professionals Forum at the same venue will also be attending the luncheon before returning to their Forum discussions at approximately 1:00 p.m. Register for the DakCU Professionals Forum here.
Please note: The Professionals Forum and the Town Hall with Jim Nussle are for DakCU Members only. There is no cost to participate in any of the events scheduled on 25th except for the Riverboat Cruise later in the evening. We just ask that you kindly register in advance so we can plan accordingly and be sure to “opt-in” for the evening social events if you wish to attend.
Also, tomorrow – August 10th is the last day to reserve your room from our block at the Hampton Inn & Suites Bismarck Northwest, 2020 Schafer Street – Bismarck. This hotel is conveniently located near the BSC Energy Center, call 701-751-5656 and be sure to mention Dakota Credit Union Association to receive the special rate of $115.
One final reminder, the deadline to sign up for the Dakota Credit Union Foundation’s 5th Annual Golf Scramble is this Friday, August 13. The Golf Scramble takes place on Thursday, August 26 at the Apple Creek Country Club in Bismarck, and will be a pleasant wrap-up to the prior day’s meetings. We still have spots available for individuals and/or teams, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo, ND through our “Play Yellow” initiative. Register here and contact Kayla Pulvermacher with any questions.
Be safe and have a great week.
Dakota Credit Union Association
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