Posted on

Happy 2021 everyone! I know this is going to be a great year and I hope it’s starting off that way for you and yours. Things in life are often relative and compared to a baseline. If 2020 is our baseline for evaluating 2021, then hallelujah! I like our chances for improvement. Covid cases are down and we’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel with respect to this dastardly pandemic. I also know that 2021 will have its challenges, I just hope they aren’t the same challenges that we’ve faced the past almost year now.

Having said that, 2020 was a showcase year for the value proposition community banks provide. You all were front and center helping your friends, neighbors and communities deal with uncertainty and fallout from the pandemic. We might have even thought the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was behind us. If so, we were wrong because round two is in full swing and I know that you all are stepping up and doing your part. Thank you for that and for letting me be a small part in assisting you. And we may not be done given the high dollar stimulus package being proposed by President Biden.

For more...

Posted on

Politics, elections and pandemics, oh my! That’s kind of my take on the past several months and a less than articulate comparative reference to Dorothy’s infamous “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my” quote from the Wizard of Oz. But just as those beasts struck fear in the hearts of Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow as they skipped through the forest in that iconic 1939 film, today’s unknowns of a yet-to-be resolved pandemic, a new administration and an unknown US Senate makeup (the Georgia runoffs are at least one reminder that the election isn’t really over) have left us modern day citizens a bit skittish about what’s ahead of us.

While it might not be a great career move for someone whose job it is to advocate for a tremendous community banking organization, I promised myself I wasn’t going to drone on about politics, the recent election and certainly not the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in this message. We’ve all had enough. I know I’ve had enough. A wise friend of mine asked me a few days ago if I could recall having recent conversations that didn’t involve politics or the pandemic. I couldn’t except for Stacey telling me that the dogs were tangled around the tree again. But I don’t think those count as “conversations” so I excluded them for the purposes of the exercise at hand.

For more...

Posted on

As I write this, it occurred to me that today is the first day of fall. Other than the leaves changing color, one might think it’s just another beautiful summer day as the temperature approaches 90 degrees in Bismarck. While 2020 has kind of been the year to forget, our summer weather was really quite delightful for the most part.

While our weather was pleasant, I can’t say it’s been a pleasant summer of clarity and direction for our bank members relative to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process. Community banks across the country including North Dakota stepped up to efficiently process PPP loans and distribute those much-needed funds to our business and ag customers. You accomplished what the federal government couldn’t. And now, in my opinion, you’ve sort of been left holding the bag. Even the General Accounting Office (GAO) recognized this in their report issued this week. As they reported, the complexity and lack of guidance surrounding PPP loan forgiveness could limit the effectiveness of future rounds of the program.

For more...

Posted on

Despite these very weird and unprecedented times, I hope you’ve had some time to safely enjoy some summertime activities. At least the weather has been pleasant! 

By the time you read this we will already be well into August. Normally, your ICBND staff would be in the home stretch of preparation for our annual convention. Sadly however, for the first time in 53 years, the Independent Community Banks of North Dakota will not be holding its annual convention this summer. As you know, your convention committee and board of directors made the difficult decision to cancel the convention in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. While the convention is off, we are moving forward to safely host a golf outing and social on Monday, August 17. I hope to see many of you later this month.

Politics, of course, are in the air again as well. Following the general election in November, the 67th Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature will hold its organizational session in early December in preparation for the 2021 legislative session which will be called to order on January 5th.

For more...

Posted on

Usually I’m not at a loss for words…probably to the chagrin of many of your association’s board members and my coworkers! But I’ve literally stared at my screen for a few minutes wondering how to characterize these times since I last penned a president’s message to you a couple months ago. And yet, I haven’t really come up with anything very prophetic.

Here's what I do know. We live in a very dynamic world. And in that dynamic environment, we’re experiencing a plethora of situations economically, medically, politically, and socially that are affecting our communities, our state, our country and our planet. Some are unprecedented. Others not so much.

I’m not going to espouse an opinion on any of these dynamics. All I know is that these times have really made me think about what matters in this life. Faith, family and relationships rise to the top of the list.

For more...

Endorsed Members