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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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As I write this, we are just one short month removed from the 50th Annual ICBND Convention. Of course I’m biased, but I truly thought it was a fabulous event. In some ways, it feels like it was ages ago and in other ways it seems like just yesterday. I’m just now getting fully caught up on sleep. My adult children often tell me that I have FOMO. For those of you, like me, who didn’t know what FOMO stands for, it’s the affliction known as “fear of missing out”. As I’ve become a bit more self-aware in middle age, I somewhat regrettably admit that it probably describes me well - hence the need to catch up on sleep after this milestone event. By the way, FOMO must not be all that bad as these same adult children, plus a son-in-law and grandson, were all living with Stacey and me this summer!

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Well, I literally just ordered my costume for the theme party for the 50th Annual ICBND Convention in a couple weeks.  Assuming I fit into the “one size fits most” category, I will be proudly donning it Monday evening of the convention.  While I’m not much of a costume person, I thought I better try a bit harder this year given the 50 year milestone.  I’m almost nervous to see what Chairman Beall and Jordan Nelson will be wearing.  The jockey outfits last year were just short of disturbing!

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