The Northwest Credit Union Movement Just Got Even Stronger


Forty-eight credit union professionals recently completed Credit Union Development Education Training, including six from the Northwest.

Six Northwest credit union professionals have completed Credit Union Development Education Training provided by the National Credit Union Foundation. DE training provides education in credit union structure, purpose, and dives into the “why” of credit unions and what makes them stand out from other financial institutions.

In total, 48 credit union leaders completed the program in Madison, Wisconsin, in early September, becoming CUDEs. Those from the Northwest include:

  • Brian Finnila, Seattle Credit Union, Organizational Development Manager
  • Zoe French, TwinStar Credit Union, Member Services Manager
  • Linsey Lee, Washington State Employees Credit Union, Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Michele Lenox, Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union, Operations Manager
  • Dan McCue, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, SVP Corporate Relations
  • Marisol Peralta, Gesa Credit Union, Community Relations Specialist

“DE training was life-changing for me,” Lenox said. “It…really ignited the passion in my heart I’ve always had for helping members reach financial health. During the training we explored 12 development issues that are barriers to economic growth. We learned how to overcome those barriers to help our membership with their financial growth and provide prosperity for families around the world. I feel empowered to apply what I’ve learned and to make a difference at our credit union and the members we serve every day. I am truly inspired by this movement!”

Finnila said the DE experience for him was transformative, rekindling his passion and purpose.

“I appreciated the emphasis in DE on how all of the learning taking place needs to be balanced and realized by truly integrating it into the heart. Without this, our learning might simply remain intellectual and subsequently our impact minimized or thwarted,” Finnila said. “I’m grateful that there were many opportunities and reminders presented that allowed for this to happen and, therefore, am confident that this learning and overall experience is a part of me forever.”

Since 1982, more than 1,900 credit union advocates from over 35 countries have graduated from DE Training, going on to become Credit Union Development Educators (CUDE). Those who would like to experience the DE program in an abbreviated form closer to home are encouraged to register for Leveraging the Credit Union Difference, to take place Nov. 21 to 23 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

“Each time a Northwest credit union professional graduates from DE Training or attends Leveraging the Credit Union Difference, our Movement becomes stronger,” said Northwest Credit Union Association Director of Cooperative Momentum, Carmen Vigil.

Both DE and the regional Leveraging the Credit Union Difference Workshop help professionals understand the history of credit unions and the “why” behind them, developing a renewed appreciation for the Movement. Chad Helminak, Director of DE and Cooperative Culture with the National Credit Union Foundation will be joining this November’s workshop, serving as co-facilitator with Deborah Wege, Cooperative Community Advocate with BECU. There is still time to register, although spots are filling quickly! Questions may be directed to Vigil.

Posted in Professional Development.