43 CU Professionals become Certified CU Development Educators (CUDEs)

Foundation’s CU Philosophy Training held April 23-30 in Madison

Madison, Wis. – Forty-three credit union professionals 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). The Spring DE training was held April 23-30, 2014 at the Lowell Center on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wis.

“The passion of all my DE Training classmates and the training material itself really ignited my flame for the credit union movement,” said Spring DE Training attendee Brandon Walker, Government Affairs Specialist and Credit Union House Manager for the Cornerstone Credit Union League in Oklahoma City, Okla. “I know now this is my calling and where I belong. DE changed my life!”

Team Projects
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 this class’ final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included opening an Islamic banking center, board development and recruiting including the debate over compensation, credit union solutions to payday lending, microfinance to women in the Philippines, developing credit union awareness, and a small credit union merger dilemma.

Class Graduates
The Spring 2014 graduating class included credit union movement representatives from across the U.S., United Kingdom and Jamaica. They are: Barbara Agin, New Jersey Credit Union League in New Jersey; April Ales, League of Southeastern Credit Unions in Florida; Steve Branstetter, People’s Trust FCU in Texas; John Cassidy, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Eric Christiansen, CUNA Mutual Group in Wisconsin; Rena Crispin, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Erin Doan, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU in Pennsylvania; Tonya Elmore, Tarrant County FCU in Texas; Katrina Fowlkes, Advancial FCU in Texas; Nilsa Gebert, FOCUS CU in Wisconsin; Wendi Gephart, CU Strategic Planning in Washington; Jeremy Gibson, Trona Valley Community FCU in Wyoming; Stacey Hagopian, Northeast Family FCU in Connecticut; Bert Hash Jr., MECU of Baltimore in Maryland; Ryan Hawk, Peach State FCU in Georgia; Annie Hock, Lakeview Credit Union in Wisconsin; Rhea Hogden, Co-op Credit Union in Wisconsin; Benita Jackson, First Legacy Community CU in North Carolina; Amaia Kirtland, Credit Union National Association in Washington, DC; Diana Kot, SchoolsFirst FCU in California; Vera Lindo, Jamaica Coop Credit Union League in Jamaica; Katy Matirne, Advancial FCU in Louisiana; Stacie Neuman, Best Advantage CU in Wisconsin; Cameron Newfarmer, National Credit Union Foundation in Wisconsin; Candice Nigro, New Jersey Credit Union League in New Jersey; Tom O’Brien, Heritage Family FCU in Vermont, Joe Ochei, Grampian Credit Union in the United Kingdom; Ana Ortiz, Advancial FCU in Texas; Oscar Porras, Maps CU in Oregon; Lloyd Quintana, Guadalupe CU in New Mexico; Marnie Renteria, Filene Research Institute in Wisconsin; Derrick Rhayn, Rhayn Collaborative Consulting in Washington; Laurie Rush, MECU of Baltimore in Maryland; Melissa Sandoval, Guadalupe CU in New Mexico; Jenny Serrambana, People’s Trust FCU in Texas; Amy Shaw, Nebraska CU League and Affiliates in Nebraska; Laura Skeans, Credit Union National Association in Wisconsin; Buddy Sutter, Jefferson Credit Union in Alabama; Chris Temple, Local Government FCU in North Carolina; Christin Vincent, The Summit FCU in New York; Brandon Walker, Cornerstone Credit Union League in Oklahoma; Stacey Walker, XCEL FCU in New Jersey; and JR Webster, Tinker FCU in Oklahoma.

2014 Fall DE Training Registration Still Open
Registration is still open for the next 2014 DE training, which will be held September 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 the September 2014 DE Training” button on the homepage or anywhere on the website under “Foundation Programs>Development Education>Register for the September 2014 DE Training” at the top of every page.


More Spring DE Training Testimonials

“I came to DE Training thinking that credit unions were simply cooperative financial institutions and left believing that they can be vehicles for helping to achieve economic and social justice,” said Steve Branstetter, EVP/CFO at People’s Trust FCU in Houston, Texas.

“My head is filled with so much more knowledge and I feel this fire and encouragement that I can make a difference, even if I am just one person doing something small on my own, said Stacie Neuman, Financial Architect at Best Advantage Credit Union in Brillion, Wis. “Learning about issues on a global level versus a local level really opened my eyes and I truly appreciate and cherish the opportunity I was given to attend DE training. The friendships I made and the knowledge I gained is something that will stay with me forever.”

“The DE program was an excellent way to learn about the history and the future of the credit union movement in the United States and around the world,” said Erin Doan, Executive Administrative Assistant at Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU in Middletown, Pa. “Through networking with credit union peers and hands on, real life experience, I learned how I can be a part of having a positive impact on people’s lives and financial freedom.”


*Note to editors: a high-resolution version of the graduation image above is available here:

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 1,100 credit union advocates from over 34 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 Foundation Programs.

About the National Credit Union Foundation (

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is the charitable arm of the US credit union movement and works as a catalyst to improve people’s financial lives through credit unions. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes. Donations to the Foundation enable credit unions to help their members reach life-changing goals and achieve financial freedom.


The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.


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