Grow Your Career and Your Credit Union


Preparing credit union leaders to meet the challenges of the future is critical to the continued success of the Credit Union Movement. This is the ultimate goal behind Western CUNA Management School’s curriculum, which provides credit union professionals with the knowledge they need to ensure their credit union’s prosperity and achieve their career aspirations.

For those interested in expanding their understanding of the credit union industry, their network, and their leadership potential, registration for the 2018 session running July 8-20 is now open.

Sponsored by the Northwest Credit Union Association in cooperation with Pomona College, WCMS serves credit unions in 13 western states, including Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

For more than 50 years, it has offered a rigorous curriculum for managers and upper-level operational staff who have set credit union management as a career goal, and who want to achieve a deeper understanding of developments in the credit union industry.

Students attend the school in Claremont, California, for three two-week terms over consecutive summers and complete a written project between each term: Project I, an analysis of the student’s credit union, and Project II, which involves strategic planning for the credit union’s future. Students also take a comprehensive examination at the end of each school year.

The university-level faculty is made up of distinguished professors, attorneys, high level credit union professionals and consultants. To promote the learning experience, students live in Pomona College dormitories, take their meals in its dining halls, and engage in numerous structured out-of-classroom service learning activities. In addition, the American Council on Education’s College Recommendation Service (ACE Credit) has evaluated and recommended college credit for the program.

The program’s graduates cite enrollment as a catalyst for their success in their credit union careers, increasing their understanding of the industry and enthusiasm for the Credit Union Difference.

“Attending WCMS was a pivotal point in my credit union career. The moment you set foot on campus you are engulfed by the passion that drives our movement,” said Justin Martin, a graduate of WCMS’s 2007 class, now Chief Operating Officer at Verity Credit Union. “The classes and projects deepened my understanding of all areas of the credit union, allowing me to contribute at a more strategic level. I walked away with a robust network and increased confidence in my own potential.”

“My Western CUNA Management School experience was of great value to me in cementing the philosophical, cultural, operational and leadership values that have helped me succeed with my career, advocacy, and community development,” said Kyle Frick, Vice President of Marketing at Mid Oregon Credit Union.

Frick also emphasized that his WCMS experience was characterized not only by in-depth academic and practical training, but also by the strong professional network the program helped him establish.

“After joining Mid Oregon and the Credit Union Movement in December 2003, I was fortunate to be enrolled in 2004, the most novice credit union executive in my class,” said Frick. “Being exposed to so many other credit union CEOs, executives, managers, and expert instructors formed a base of knowledge and relationships that have helped me throughout the past 14 years. The academic and environment of the school provides a significant experience that I have compared to an MBA in credit union education.”

Trailhead Credit Union President/CEO Jim McCarthy also looks back on WCMS as a career-defining experience. “The school helps students become well-rounded in all aspects of credit union operations, innovation, and philosophy. It leaves you with lifelong friends who will continue to share experiences and ideas with each other, even years after graduating. I firmly believe attending WCMS provided me with a foundation of knowledge and confidence to continue to grow in my career.”

Interested in becoming a WCMS student? Click here for more information and to register. Also remember, your Northwest Credit Union Foundation is a resource for scholarships.

Posted in CUNA.