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Credit Union Development Education (DE Program)

Transformative, experiential training established to connect people with the value proposition of credit unions using empathy and purpose.

Important: 2020 DE Program Moves to Virtual

Due to local gathering restrictions/health advisories associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the interactive nature of the DE Program, the Foundation has made the decision to cancel all in-person DE Programs scheduled during 2020. Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our participants. Considering our current circumstances, we cannot guarantee this.

Our team is excited to announce that this fall, we will be introducing a new virtual learning environment for the DE Program.

Each DE Program held in a virtual setting will be limited to 60 individuals. We are prioritizing the registration of those who were previously registered for 2020 DE Programs. We will make any remaining seats available to the public. To transfer your existing 2020 registration to a virtual session, please contact Maggie Wolff at [email protected].

Registration for both 2020 virtual sessions will be available on August 12 at 11:00 AM CT. To receive updates regarding DE Training, please email [email protected].

About DE Training

What is the DE Program?

The Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program is the signature program of the Foundation. The mission of the DE Program is to help established and emerging leaders within the credit union movement understand and leverage credit unions’ unique business model to serve members and communities in new and better ways.

Since 1982, over 2,000 credit union advocates from 35 countries have attended the U.S. DE Training to earn their CUDE™ designation. Independent, international DE programs have spun off from the U.S. program. These programs have expanded the global DE alumni network to more than 4,500 individuals worldwide.

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What is Development Education?

Development Education is a process dedicated to understanding fundamental barriers that prevent the prosperity of people and communities across the globe. The goal of this process is to encourage individuals and organizations to take actions that promote equity and sustainability for all.


The National Credit Union Foundation has long been a leader in promoting Development Education within the credit union system. The process of Development Education aligns with the mission of credit unions and our shared cooperative principles, and it has helped credit unions to discover new and better ways of serving members and communities.

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Who Should Attend?

DE Training is intended for emerging or established leaders from credit unions, system partners and organizations that support credit unions*. Employees from all organizational levels are eligible to attend – from c-suite, to MSRs, accounting or IT folks, marketers and board directors… all are encouraged to attend!

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DE Learning Objectives

While many trainings focus on the “what” and “how” of credit union service and operations, the DE Program focuses on exploring the “why”. High-level learning objectives include:

  • The Credit Union Difference: Understand how to communicate and leverage credit unions’ unique business model and operating principles.
  • Development Issues: How to identify and solve for challenges that prevent the financial health and prosperity of the members and communities you serve. Learn more about the 12 Development Issues.
  • Empathy & Emotional Intelligence in Banking: How to live out our mission and values while creating a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Upon completing the DE Program, participants earn their Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) Designation which signifies a competency in understanding and applying DE lessons to support credit union members, employees and communities. The designation is available through completing either the in-person or virtual DE Program.

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DE: Unlike Other Trainings

DE is a dynamic program where content is arranged to connect learning with experiences and application over the course of training. It relies heavily on individual engagement, group work and a classroom that challenges participants to step outside of their comfort zones. To create this environment, we have the following rules:

Attendees must attend all DE Program sessions. Unless there is a health issue or family/personal emergency, we expect participants to attend all sessions in order to receive their CUDE designation. This is not a “pick and choose” event and attendees should not schedule meetings or maintain work connectivity during DE whether participating in-person or virtually.

Titles are left at the door. All participants are asked to not reveal their titles at DE Training. This creates a level playing field for group dynamics and allows everyone in the class to more easily look at problems and solutions from different angles.

No advanced copies of the agenda are shared. To ensure participants aren’t looking too far ahead at lessons and activities, we do not share a detailed agenda prior to arriving at DE. Though the DE Program schedule can vary depending on the learning environment, participants can expect to remain busy from the beginning to end of each learning day of training with plenty of time for breaks and reflection.

Registration is limited to one person per organization per class. Cooperative learning is at the forefront of DE Training. To optimize the learning environment, one person per organization can attend each session. This allows participants to learn from and engage with as many unique perspectives as possible.

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Unique Value

DE is uniquely valuable to…

Participants. The DE Program helps participants to explore their purpose or “why” in credit unions, fostering internal reflection, passion and leadership.

Credit Unions. To win in the marketplace, credit unions need to leverage our purpose to differentiate and better serve our diverse memberships. The DE Program helps participants to understand the cooperative principles and learn to help members overcome challenges using empathy. Participants in the DE Program return to their organizations with renewed passion and desire to innovate and serve members.

System Partners. The DE Program helps participants from system partners understand their connection to the credit union movement and the members that credit unions serve.

Communities. The DE process, learned throughout training, helps participants to build meaningful connections to their community. The DE Program introduces participants to the products, services and development opportunities that communities need and support the good work that credit unions are already doing.

Learn more about the impact of DE Training.

DE Learning Environments

Over its near-40-year history, the U.S. DE Program has proven to be incredibly resilient. It has been hosted across the country at universities, corporate conference centers, remote nature preserves, hotel conference rooms, and monasteries. Activities and experiences have always been shaped around each environment and offered unique learning opportunities.

  • in person de training


    The in-person DE Training environment is offered four times per year in Madison, WI on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Please note, that due to COVID-19, all in-person DE Trainings have been canceled.

    In-person DE Training is an intensive, week-long program, which consists of all classroom learning and engagement. Participants can expect to be in session from 8 AM – 8 PM CST for the duration of training.

    Cost: $3,300 (includes meals and lodging)

  • computer virtual learning


    The virtual DE Training environment will be offered twice in 2020. Over 4 weeks, participants will engage in a mix of on-demand and live learning sessions. The expanded format and timeline will allow for more reflection on lessons and real-world application.

    Session 1: September 14 – October 9

    Session 2: October 26 – November 20

    Live learning sessions will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays between the hours of 10 AM – 4 PM CST for the duration of training.

    Cost: $2,000

Inspiring Credit Union Leaders

We inspire credit union professionals to understand their “why” and to leverage the cooperative values and principles to improve their communities.

Credit Union National Association Jim Nussle

DE Training was well worth my personal investment of time and energy. As we work hard to advocate and build awareness for credit unions, it’s critical that we take time to build our understanding and appreciation of the credit union difference so we can all share that message far and wide.

Jim Nussle, President/CEO of the Credit Union National Association

Want to Explore Your “Why”?

Using core lessons from the DE Program as a lens, Exploring Why™ Workshops provide experiential training that credit unions and system partners can use to help their employees connect to the credit union difference and discover new ways to drive greater value.

Learn about Exploring Why Workshops
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Get in touch

For more information on the DE Program

Contact Maggie Wolff, Development Education Manager

The National Credit Union Foundation Maggie Wolff

Maggie Wolff

Development Education Manager

Maggie works directly with the Director of DE & Cooperative Culture to coordinate and execute the Foundation’s signature DE Program as well as managing DE Alumni relations.


*For non-credit union organizations: Individuals must be from an organization that has (1) a primary purpose to support credit unions or some element of the credit union movement, (2) a significant portion of its ownership, membership or customer base from the credit union system and (3) demonstrated a commitment to the purposes of the Foundation.

All cancellations must be received in writing. Please provide a brief explanation for the cancellation and submit via email to [email protected]. Cancellations received more than 30 days prior to the event are subject to a 25% administrative fee on the registration total. No refunds will be granted for cancellations received on or after 30 days prior to the event. Substitutions are accepted prior to the start of the program. Additional costs may apply. Please provide the CUDE training date, current participant name and new participant name to [email protected].