Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program™

About the DE™ 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.

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.

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

DE Advisory Committee Voting