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<p>SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – In line with state leagues pooling operations, the North and South Dakota Credit Union Leagues disclosed this week they are discussing sharing of services including establishing a research and information center here for the two associations. Like a number of Leagues in the West and in New England with a shrinking base of credit unions, the two Dakota Leagues said they are meeting this month to review cost cutting measures. “We are two Leagues which have much in common and since we already share educational programming, we decided to look further to see if there are ways to share in other areas as well,” said Donald P. Couch, president of the South Dakota League. One area is in marketing/promotion/printing expenses in which the North Dakota League in Bismarck could take over that function from South Dakota, said Couch. Meanwhile, the South Dakota League could develop and staff a new research center here to field calls from CUs in both states on a broad range of compliance, operations and regulation matters. Couch said there is duplication of effort in each League maintaining separate call centers to handle incoming CU calls and that could be eliminated with one facility. Both Leagues have about the same number of CUs-60-and both have witnessed erosion because of mergers. Buell Reich, president of the North Dakota League, said he expects to meet with Couch Tuesday in Sioux Falls to discuss “exactly what might be shared and what we might do” in the future. The sharing idea, Reich said, would be taken up more seriously by boards of the two associations at the annual Dakotas Managers and Directors Conference in Medora, N.D. June 27-29. Reich said the issue of cooperation and “finding expertise” within state Leagues has become critical in recent months as more demands are placed on associations to provide up-to-date services. Meanwhile, lobbying and PR advocacy expense has risen amidst rising competition and Internet activity. “We are just in the discussion stage now,” said Couch and more will be known as the leadership of the two Leagues review options. He said there could be meetings later on with the Nebraska League or with other neighbor states about joining the alignment. Scott Sullivan, president of the Nebraska League, said his group shares leasing services with the Kansas League and he has known about the North/South Dakota Leagues working together “though I didn’t know they were that far along.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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