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Credit Union Development Education: What Is It All About?

This report explores the Credit Union Development Education Program (DE) and the case studies delivered by the attendees during the Spring 2012 meeting.

Executive Summary

What goes on at the weeklong Credit Union Development Education Program (DE) is a bit of a mystery to many in the credit union system. And that’s just the way Bob Schumacher likes it. A senior consultant for the Paragon Group (a strategic consultancy in the Seattle area), a longtime credit union advocate, and one of the facilitators of the April 2012 DE session, Schumacher thinks it’s better if participants don’t know too much going in: “We purposely don’t promote the agenda or program materials ahead of time. We want this to be an intense, 24/7 experience that takes participants out of their comfort zone—we want them to trust the process.”

This report explores the program and the case studies delivered by the attendees during the Spring 2012 meeting.

What is the research about?

Imagine having just 18 hours to research a complex financial topic, develop a recommendation, and present your ideas to an auditorium of your credit union peers. (Oh, and did we mention that you also need to find time for meals, caffeine breaks, and maybe a little sleep, too?) 

That’s the task that each year’s class of DE participants faces on the last day of their weeklong session, and, like their predecessors, the Class of 2012 delivered with aplomb. While the case studies may have been fictional, they reflected real challenges in today’s credit union world, and the 40 participants delivered provocative, yet balanced, solutions.

What are the credit union implications?

What are the key messages that leaders hope this year’s participants walked away with?

“That what they do every day is important. That they can be a catalyst for change or a reaffirmation of core credit union values. I love the fact that these sessions create a group dynamic that drives powerful individual outcomes.”

Schumacher knows that the program can be life changing. “One participant told me that after she went through DE it became the filter through which she tried to make all of her decisions. It’s a revelation for many.”

This report is sponsored by the National Credit Union Foundation, CUNA Mutual Group, the Credit Union National Association, and the World Council of Credit Unions.