Credit Union Development Education (DE)™

About the Credit Union Development Education™ Program

The Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program is the signature program of the National Credit Union Foundation. It is a transformative and experiential training that promotes the education and application of credit union business principles and philosophy.

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, nearly 2,000 credit union advocates from over 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 and are operational in Africa, Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Philippines. These programs have expanded the global DE alumni network to more than 4,500 individuals worldwide.
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for upcoming DE Training dates and registration information.

DE Learning Objectives & the CUDE™ Designation

While many trainings focus on the “what” and “how” of credit union service and operations, the DE Program focuses on exploring the “why” and purpose of credit unions through key lessons that include:

  • Level I: The Credit Union Difference: Attendees are provided with an overview of (1) the U.S. and global credit union movement, (2) U.S. credit union pioneers and key historical lessons, and (3) credit union operating principles and impact on business & service.
  • Level II: Member Development Issues: Attendees explore (1) 12 core development issues members are facing today, (2) the impact of these issues on members’ financial health and credit unions operations, and (3) core development issues that need to be addressed in order to grow credit unions and improve the lives of members and communities. -
  • Level III: Emotional Intelligence: Attendees take part in activities that help to (1) reflect and connect their personal values with the values of credit unions, (2) understand the important role empathy plays in solving member issues, and (3) understand the value and strategies of applying emotional intelligence, regardless of their specific role.
  • Level IV: Application & Project Work: Finally, attendees complete group project work and demonstrate their ability to apply lessons from levels I, II and III.
By completing the DE Program, participants earn their Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation which signifies a competency in understanding and applying DE Program lessons. DEs are also encouraged to commit to completing a post-DE Program project to apply what they’ve learned to create value for their credit union, members and community.

DE Program: Unlike Other Training Events

DE is a dynamic program where content is arranged to connect learning with experiences and application over the course of six days. 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.
  • Titles are left at the door. All participants are asked to not reveal their titles when they arrive at DE Training. This creates a level playing field for group dynamics and allows everyone in the room 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 from class to class, participants can expect to remain busy from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. each day of training with plenty of breaks and meals along the way.
  • 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.

Who should attend DE Training?

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. Volunteers and board directors are welcome as well.

*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. If you have any questions whether you're eligible to attend DE Training, contact Chad Helminak, DE Program Director, at

For More Information... Chad Helminak, Director of DE and Cooperative Culture, at (608) 231-4078 or