First Development Education Class of 2007 Graduates 42 Credit Union Leaders

National Credit Union Foundation to Sponsor Another DE Class in August

The 25th Anniversary Class poses by Lake Mendota - Click for a larger versionWith a send-off from Mississippi Credit Union Association President Charles Elliott, credit union leaders graduated last week from the six-day Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training sponsored by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

Participants from April 12-17 included credit union employees and board members from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, Trinidad, United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe, as well as credit union business partners and trade association staff.

Elliott, a graduate of the DE Class of 1984, spoke at the graduation ceremony on Madison’s Credit Union Campus. He reflected on his experiences as a DE, weathering the storm of Katrina since 2005. “DE changed my life twice: once in 1984 and again after Katrina. DE is the reason I’m standing here today.”

The DE program’s mission is to promote credit unions’ social responsibility through interactive adult education and networking. Throughout the training, participants learn about national and international issues affecting people around the world. Teams are required to not only choose a subject for research, but complete a final project that proposes solutions for how credit unions can help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

This year’s six final projects were to:
  • Establish credit unions in the rebuilding of Iraq;
  • Decide whether to merge or not to merge a small CU with a large CU;
  • Decide whether to convert or not to convert a CU to a mutual bank;
  • Plan to serve a low-income community;
  • Design a national CU brand campaign;
  • Recommend how NCUA should define the term “modest means” or why it should not.
Almost 700 graduates have now earned the designation of Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE). Graduates support socially responsible programs throughout the world in such areas as youth and family finances, partnerships with international credit union development, development of low-income designated credit unions, and outreach to the underserved.

“When DE Training is over, people leave revitalized,” says DE Program Director Tom Decker. “They leave with a clear understanding that societal issues are, indeed, global, and that credit unions have the unique ability to improve the lives of people everywhere.”

Second Class this Year

NCUF recently expanded the waiting list for others who want to experience DE Training from August 23-28 at IslandWood, a unique site using the environment as a classroom on Bainbridge Island, Wash. The class at IslandWood will be the first outside of Wisconsin in the DE program’s 25-year history.

Board members, CEOs, managers, anyone new to credit unions – and everyone who shares a passion for credit unions’ survival – are invited to join the waiting list.

For more information, call 1-800-356-9655, ext. 4979, e-mail, or log onto and click “National Programs” then “Development Education.”

NCUF is committed to offering two DE Training classes each year from now on, in order to allow twice as many credit union leaders each year to experience a total immersion in cooperative principles and credit union philosophy.

“There is growing demand for training that provides a contemporary perspective on how the cooperative business model of social responsibility and community outreach can help credit unions survive,” observes NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “DE Training and our new Social Impact Management Institutes will demonstrate how credit unions can leverage their value in today’s marketplace.”