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I hope this message finds you enjoying a great North Dakota summer!  As I’ve traveled the state some this summer, it’s amazing how much better the crops look compared to a year ago.  I will confess that I haven’t been to the southwest reaches for a while so I hope things have improved down there as well – they certainly need the relief.  Let’s hope for cooperative weather through harvest!

It’s hard to believe August is already here.  Of course, that means your ICBND staff is in the home stretch of preparation for our 51st annual convention.  I hope you’re planning to attend.  I promise it will be fun and informative!  For me, part of that means a last minute scramble for a theme party costume that will appropriately embarrass my family and friends.  But this year, I was on top of things and ordered a costume already last week.  Upon my return home last night, my pirate costume had arrived (times two since I apparently don’t yet know how to navigate Amazon Prime…..uffda!).  During dress rehearsal for my wife and grandson, it appears that the online ad may have oversold the quality and fit of this particular garment.  For $9.95 plus free shipping you would think it would live up to its internet billing!  My grandson did enjoy a belly laugh however and he especially liked wearing the hat.

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Finally!  Senate Bill 2155 became the law of the land upon President Trump’s signature on Friday, May 25th .  A great way to end a great week as earlier the House brought S.2155 to the floor which passed by a vote of 258-159 including the support of 33 moderate Democrats.  This very welcome relief has long been in the making as ICBND and ICBA and their member banks for years have fought for regulation that is tiered to the size, risk, complexity and business model of community banks.  This bill represents the first significant “walk back” of Dodd-Frank.  It’s a heck of a start, but there’s a whole bunch more regulatory relief needed.  You have to like the momentum though!

ICBND sincerely thanks Senator Heitkamp, Senator Hoeven, and Congressman Cramer for their votes in support of this legislation.  A special thanks to Senator Heitkamp.  When things seemed to be falling apart after Ranking Committee member Brown divorced himself of the bill when went on counterattack, Senator Heitkamp took a lead role in reviving it and rallying support from her Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

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Well, maybe we made it through another winter.  It’s supposed to be 50 degrees today in Bismarck and April is right around the corner.  Hopefully, it will bring with it some much needed moisture for our farm and ranch customers.  They could certainly use the relief!  And, so could our ag lenders!

     Speaking of relief, it’s been a decade of drought for community bankers when it comes to the subject of relief from the regulatory burden created in large part by the financial crisis 10 years ago.  Until now.  The advocacy efforts of community bankers across this country helped spawn a nice soaking shower in the form of Senate Bill 2155.  Introduced late last year, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster getting this bill to the Senate floor.  

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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are enjoying a happy and prosperous 2018. And, I hope you’ve managed to escape the cold and flu season! I haven’t unfortunately and will remember January 2018 as the month of the “hack”. My wife says I’m a little annoying and should probably toughen up. But enough about me.

The ICBND calendar of events really starts to heat up in March and I encourage your participation. The Emerging Leaders Development Program schedule is set for the year and the puck drops on Friday, March 9th with a day-long session in Grand Forks followed by a joint social and hockey gathering with the ICBND Board of Directors that evening at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. A special thanks to Choice Financial and First State Bank for hosting the Board meeting and Emerging Leaders meeting, respectively, and to Bell Bank for their sponsorship support!

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Happy Holidays everyone! I’m gonna cut to the chase because for a non-election year, things have been more than a little wild in Washington, DC as it relates to community banking.

Let me start with the circus we call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Richard Cordray finally decided to step away from his role as director of the agency prior to his term being up apparently to run for Governor of Ohio. But, not before he flung one last arrow to the current administration. In an 11th hour move on the Friday after Thanksgiving (when generally nothing happens!), Cordray left office abruptly and placed a staffer in charge who was seemingly unfit by any measure of experience with the agency, the law or financial service related issues. The move seemed typical of the former director’s mantra that he answered to no one. 

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