CUAD Invites NCUA to Visit North Dakota Oil Country

BISMARCK, ND (October 4, 2013) — The Credit Union Association of the Dakotas’ (CUAD) President/CEO Robbie Thompson and Amy Kleinschmit, Director of Compliance, recently joined a delegation of credit union representatives and regulators for a tour of the oil impacted areas in Northern and Western North Dakota.  CUAD had requested that NCUA tour the area and meet with area credit unions to see firsthand the unique challenges facing credit unions in this rapidly growing area of North Dakota.   Included in the tour group were C. Keith Morton, Regional Director from NCUA, Buddy Gill, Senior Strategic Communications and External Relations Advisor to the NCUA Chairman, and Bob Entringer, North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions Commissioner.

The tour kicked off in Minot, ND on Monday Oct. 1 with a meeting and panel discussion.  More than 20 North Dakota credit union professionals had an opportunity to tell their stories and ask questions of the panel.  Regulators heard about the many challenges facing North Dakota credit unions; including falling capital due to tremendous deposit growth, new member verification difficulties, and how growing regulations make it harder to serve members.

CUAD then lead Morton, Gill, Entringer, ND DFI Senior Examiner Corey Krebs and a handful of credit union executives to Williston, ND where they toured a Target Logistics Housing Facility or “man camp,” that houses more than 400 workers in Williston. The group made a visit to Stat Oil to discuss the long term prospects of oil production in the Bakken area.  North Dakota currently is the 2nd highest oil producing state in the country, and it is estimated that the Bakken oil field will produce oil for at least 30 years.  The tour also heard from Rory Nelson, Western North Dakota’s Energy Impact Coordinator for the Governor’s Office. Nelson discussed the impact oil production is having on the area, and estimated that the number of permanent oil jobs in the Williston area will grow from 10,000 to over 30,000 by 2025.  Melanie Stillwell, CEO of Western Cooperative Credit Union and Denton Zubke, CEO of Dakota West Credit Union, stressed to regulators that the inability to find affordable housing and daycare makes attracting and retaining employees one of the credit unions’ biggest challenges. Additionally, competing with “oil field” salaries and the rising cost of training due to high turnover means that controlling expenses is becoming increasingly difficult.

Robbie Thompson summed up the tour, saying, “It was a tremendously educational trip. I think that no one really understands what it is like in these areas until they experience it firsthand. I really appreciated the NCUA Regional Director, a Representative from the NCUA Chairman’s Office, and the North Dakota DFI for accepting our invitation and taking their time to visit North Dakota to better understand credit unions in those areas and the difficulties they face.”

Headquartered in Bismarck, Credit Union Association of the Dakotas (CUAD) is the trade association serving credit unions in the Dakotas.  CUAD serves 72 credit unions in North and South Dakota, serving over 406,000 members, with assets in excess of $5.1 billion.  For more information about CUAD visit our website at

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