What I learned at Credit Union Boot Camp

This May, I spent a week in credit union boot camp. Officially known as the “Credit Union Development Educator training program,” it was an incredible (and somewhat exhausting) experience. DE is a huge commitment, but it is worth every moment — I learned an amazing amount about credit unions, cooperative values, the credit union movement and developed deep bonds with new friends. After seven days, I left Madison inspired and passionate about credit unions and their potential for good.

DE taught me that because of the cooperative mission established by the movement’s founders, credit unions can make the world a better place. They quietly do this every day by striving to be much more than a financial institution, as they provide financial education and coaching, offer free tax help, serve the underserved, and give members a voice through the democratic process.

Upon graduation, each CUDE promises to develop and complete a DE project that impacts our local communities while promoting the cooperate movement. I have a few decent ideas I’m chewing on, and I have some great inspiration here at home

Tracie Kenyon, my gracious boss here at the Montana Credit Union Network, established Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (MCUCD) as her project. It’s a non-profit subsidiary designed to help Montana credit unions implement programs that improve the social and economic well-being of their members and non-members. MCUCD is a great example of the good credit unions working together can do.

MCUCD currently has three primary areas of focus. One is financial education because the cost of financial ignorance is high. The other two program areas are Matched Savings Accounts and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). These help economically-challenged residents save for higher education, purchase an asset such as a home, provide free tax help and Earned Income Tax Credit awareness.

MCUCD’s work allows local credit unions to address financial need in their communities. The results are Montana families making financial decisions that provide security and well-being to their families. This has a ripple effect and improves the overall health of our communities across the state. After ten years, the track record {www.mcun.coop/MCUCD_Info} is pretty impressive.

I’m so honored to be part of such a worthy cause for the good of all. I’m energized by what I learned at DE and am eager to help spread the news of how great credit unions are and to collaborate with other cooperatives knowing that there is power in numbers. I’m also ready to stand up for the social good that credit unions are built around and the positive ripple it can create in Montana, in the United States, and around the globe.

Alana Listoe

Alana Listoe

Alana Listoe is an award-winning journalist who joined the Montana Credit Union Network to help spread the good word about the credit union movement. She has been a credit union ... Web: www.mcun.coop Details