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CU Professionals Become Certified CU Development Educators
Monday, June 19, 2017 7:00 AM

DE Grad Class
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Foundation’s Transformational CU Training held in Madison

Forty-eight credit union professionals—six from the Cornerstone region—became Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) after being guided by dedicated program facilitators and mentors through the intensive Credit Union Development Education (DE) Training from the National Credit Union Foundation.

The DE training was held May 31 – June 7, 2017, at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis., and included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S., as well as representatives from Kenya and Swaziland. The Cornerstone region graduates are:

  • Aida Arce, GECU, El Paso, Texas
  • Danielle Bargas, Catalyst Corporate FCU, Plano, Texas
  • Cynthia Daly, People's Trust FCU, Houston, Texas
  • Nasario Rodriguez, American Airlines CU, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Tabatha Thurman, WEOKIE CU, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Gina Yetman, Resource One CU, Dallas, Texas

See the full list of graduates here.

Team Projects
DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy, and international development issues while incorporating challenges that credit unions face today. During the week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, and discussions with speakers from around the credit union system. They are required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For this training’s final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included financial stability among young adults and families, credit union board development, building microfinance programs in the Philippines, credit union solutions to predatory lending, the increasing issue of homelessness in America, and rejuvenating a stagnant credit union.

What the Graduates Have to Say
"Thank you, CUDE, for a life-changing experience and the gift of adjusting my pendulum," said Aida Arce, GECU manager, Project Management Office. "As credit union professionals, we should always keep close to our hearts the importance of our movement and the fragile balance of our social and business responsibilities. Thank you for bringing that back to me!"

"I didn’t know what to expect at CUDE, and when I first arrived we were all told to 'trust the process,'" said Danielle Bargas, manager of remote deposit services at Catalyst Corporate FCU. "I thought I knew a lot about credit unions, but I learned so much more—that they are there for the people, unlike banks. The week and days were long, but with all the different activities, the days flew by, and I felt good and accomplished on what was done each day. I met so many great people from 26 states and two other countries and made relationships with everyone that will last a lifetime. I’m so thankful and ready to start the work of a DE, and I’m ready to get more involved in my community and educate my team here at Catalyst. I can’t wait to go to more workshops."

"I have a renewed sense of purpose, not just in my job, but in my life," reported Cynthia Daly, director of internal audit at People's Trust FCU. "I walked away from the class with the quote by Edward Filene, 'Keep Purpose Constant.' This quote struck every fiber in my being. Now, I am getting ready to implement my financial education program at the SHAPE Community Center in the inner city of Houston to help conquer the development issues of education, savings mobilization, access to credit, women in development, and employment and income generation. It is my mission to help one family at a time to achieve financial well-being."

"In spring 2017, I attended a training program that was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my lifetime," said American Airlines CU Business Development Specialist Nasario Rodriguez. "Not only did I adopt a new set of family members, but we also shared philosophies and methodologies in the world of credit unions. This is a must class for all who are involved with credit unions."

"I left the DE program not only a better credit union employee, but a better person," said Tabatha Thurman, financial education specialist for WEOKIE Credit Union in Oklahoma City. "DE gave me tools and confidence to increase awareness about the credit union movement to anyone who will listen. #June2017BestClassEver"

Gina Yetman, a consumer lending underwriter at Resource One Credit Union, had this to say: "DE was an amazing experience! Stepping into the program with no title truly helped us to see we're all human with the same goal: to help others. I recommend this program to everyone in the CU movement. The beauty of this program is that it unites all levels of experience."

Is it Your Turn to Take the DE Plunge?
The Foundation is holding four DE Trainings this year, all taking place in Madison, Wis. The September training session is sold out, but registration for the November session will be opening in late June. If you are interested in participating in the November 2017 DE Training, visit to learn more or you can email to be put on a notification list for when registration opens up.  

More about the DE Program
The mission of the Credit Union Development Education (DE) program is to promote credit unions’ social responsibility and domestic and international development through interactive adult education and professional networking. By linking credit unions’ past and present, the DE program brings renewed relevance to credit unions’ seven cooperative principles and the philosophy of “People Helping People.”

Since 1982, more than 1,700 credit union advocates from over 35 countries have graduated from DE Training to become Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs).  Once they earn their CUDE designation, people return to their jobs with a sense of personal enrichment and renewed energy to share what they have learned.  This growing corps of credit union advocates devotes professional and volunteer time to spreading the credit union message to audiences throughout the country. For more information on the DE program, visit under "How We Help."

About the National Credit Union Foundation
The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) is the charitable arm of the U.S. credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through grants and programs, the Foundation is strengthening financial well-being, igniting passion and instilling knowledge about the credit union difference, and uniting resources to help credit union people during disaster. Donations to the Foundation ultimately enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom. For more information, please visit

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