DE program looks to CUs’ future through reflections, experiences

August 14, 2019

While some have referred to the Credit Union Development Educator (DE) program as “the best kept secret in credit unions,” National Credit Union Foundation Director of DE and Cooperative Culture Chad Helminak says it shouldn’t be. Speaking to CUBroadcast recently, Helminak described the program, its benefits and how its fits within the overall credit union mission.

“DE has been around since 1982, and while its evolved, the core is the same, understanding the principles and values that make us different,” he said. “It’s understanding the credit union difference and what that can do for our members, how do we leverage that to make our members lives better? To make our communities better?”

Helminak described the DE program in several parts, including a “deep dive” into what the credit union difference is, talking about global development issues and how to put the principles they learn about into action.

“DE isn’t about me sitting at the front of the room expounding on my knowledge, it’s more of a reflective process among those who are there,” he said. “Picture 48 people from 48 credit unions around the country or around the globe, sharing their experiences of the credit union difference through their eyes.”

Helminak also said there is a misperception about DE being merely a celebration of credit unions’ past, and he says it is, but it’s also about understanding how that past can help credit unions build their future.