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47 CU Professionals Become Certified CU Development Educators (CUDEs)
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 6:35 AM


A record 47 credit union professionals, including six from the Cornerstone Credit Union League region, became Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) last week after being guided by eight dedicated program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

Tamra Fairbrother, vice president of Training & Events with Cornerstone; Anthony Fletcher, project manager with American Airlines FCU; Jana M Mearns, branch operations specialist with People's Trust FCU; Vickey Morris, vice president of Marketing with Cornerstone; Darlene Parker, loan manager with Tarrant County CU, and Bob Rehm, vice president of sales with Credit Union Resources, Inc., were among those to complete the Jan. 22-29, 2014 training, which was held at the Rizzo Conference Center, near the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Fletcher is new to the credit union movement and will celebrate three years in July. Coming from a technology company, he says working at a credit union is a totally different environment. Since the day he started with American Airlines FCU, Fletcher says began hearing stories about why credit unions are different, and while those stories were compelling, DE training made it more real.

“DE was really a life changing experience for me,” Fletcher tells the Leaguer. “It really helped me realize the difference between working to work and working for a purpose.”

Fletcher, who now envisions a long-term career in the credit union movement, highly recommends the program, and so does Parker, a 31-year credit union veteran.

“I think DE is a great program that shows the uniqueness of credit unions and how we came to be around,” Parker shares with Leaguer readers. “It was a great refresher for me on why credit unions exist and why we’re here.  Sometimes in the day to day, we forget that serving our members is what our job is really all about.”

Mearns has served in the movement for four years, and says DE provided great insight into the global impact that credit unions have on our past, present, and future. 

“We are changing lives and communities and offering support and hope in situations that seem otherwise hopeless,” notes Mearns. “One of the most powerful examples I learned, is a story of a woman from the Philippines who turned a $35 loan from her credit union into home and a success cake business. “   

Mearns says the DE program is a great reminder of why credit unions exist and truly inspires you to be better and do better for your members and your community.

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles and credit union philosophy while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, issue discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area. For the class’ final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included credit union regulations, board development and recruiting including the debate over compensation, credit union solutions to payday lending, microfinance to women in the Philippines, credit union taxation, and a small credit union merger dilemma.


Helpful Links:

The Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Principles & Philosophy Conference May 12-14 in Dallas. This program is a must attend conference for any credit union leader – professionals and volunteers alike – looking to expand their knowledge and understanding, as well as learning how to best leverage the credit union principles and philosophy. Among other things, Cornerstone’s Principles and Philosophy Conference explores the history and role of credit unions in the marketplace; the value of cooperative philosophies and how to apply in the day-to-day operations of your credit union; historical and current social impact of credit unions, and why credit unions are different and how to leverage that for growth

If you have any questions about the Principles & Philosophy Conference, please contact Training & Events, at (469) 385-6630 or (800) 442-5762, ext. 6630. Educational grants are available through the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation. To learn more, please visit

2014 Spring & Fall DE Trainings - Registration is still open for the next two 2014 DE trainings, which will be held April 23-30, 2014 and Sept. 10-17, 2014 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis. Registration and more information can be found on the NCUF website by clicking the “Register for DE Training” button on the homepage.