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In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.


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Two Carolina staff earn CUDE designation

Posted By Jeff Hardin, 7 hours ago

Forty-seven credit union professionals, including one each from North Carolina and South Carolina, successfully earned the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation earlier this month. CUDE is a program of the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation). The DE training was held November 1-8, 2017 at the Lowell Center in Madison, Wis.

JoAnne Harper (Peach State FCU) and Marty Pell (Coastal CU) were among the class members who successfully completed and earned the CUDE designation. More than 90 credit union staff (active and retired) are CUDEs in North Carolina and South Carolina, and work cooperatively on events and projects such as the Principles and Philosophy Conference.

DE Training provides critical lessons in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy and international development issues while incorporating challenges credit unions face today. During the recent week-long program, participants were involved in group exercises, field trips, discussions with speakers from around the credit union system, and were required to complete team projects proposing solutions for credit unions to help alleviate or eliminate challenging situations in any given area.

For this training’s final case studies, participants worked through and presented solutions to critical issues that included financial stability among young adults and families, credit union board development, building microfinance programs in developing countries, credit union solutions to predatory lending, the increasing issue of homelessness in America, and rejuvenating a stagnant credit union. In this way. participants are challenged to consider the cooperative nature and structure of credit unions when considering solutions to these issues.

For more information on the CUDE program, please go to the National CU Foundation web site. The Carolinas Credit Union League offers up to two scholarships to CUDE each year for staff at credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina. For more information, please go to the CUDE Scholarship page or contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063). 

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Workshop to kick off 2018 CUaware Protégé Mentor program

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Friday, November 10, 2017
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017
Executive Coach Lee Fogle will
facilitate the  CUaware Protégé
Mentor Workshop February 1,
2018 in Charlotte. 

The CUaware Protégé Mentor program kicks off its 2018 program on Thursday, February 1 with a workshop in Charlotte. Executive Coach Lee Fogle, who has extensive credit union experience in addition to his coaching skills, will facilitate the event. 

The CUaware Protégé Mentor program connects credit union professionals with a mentor for a period of one year. Through a process that is collaboratively designed by the mentor and protégé, a plan and goals are developed, and a strategy for maintaining regular contact is created. 

The workshop will bring together the incoming program participants as well as people who have participated in earlier years. Led by Fogle, this group will learn what mentoring is and why it is important; will receive practical steps to implement to ensure success; and will share one-on-one networking time in order to get mentors and protégés started together.   

Applications for the 2018 CUaware Protégé Mentor program will be accepted through December 31, 2017. For more information please visit the program page. To apply to be a mentor, please click here and if you would like to be mentored, click here to apply

The workshop event takes place prior to the start of the Carolinas CU Connect Conference. Registration for the workshop and Connect is open to all past and incoming program participants. Please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063)  for registration information as well as a discount code. 

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Latest CUaware Podcast highlights Mentor program

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Monday, November 6, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 6, 2017

Phil Kadzielawski and Paul Narcisse, the dynamic duo hosts of the CUaware Podcast, are out with their latest episode. This episode highlights the CUaware Protégé Mentor program with Jeff Hardin of the Carolinas Credit Union League.

Hardin facilitates the program, which matches credit union professionals with a mentor for a period of one year. The podcast covers the history of the program, how it works and how you can get involved! Give them a listen above, and if you'd like to learm more about the CUaware Protégé Mentor program, please click here. Applications for the 2018 program year are being accepted through the end of 2017. 

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Staff learn history, purpose of credit unions

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017
The 2017 class included nearly 20 credit unions and credit union organizations. 

Forty credit union staff learned the history, purpose and values of credit unions at the Principles & Philosophy Conference October 24-26. The event took place outside Winnsboro, SC at the White Oak Conference Center. 

Produced by a group of volunteer Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) working in partnership with the League, the curriculum is designed with three major outcomes in mind:

  1. To raise awareness of and empathy for the struggles that many credit union members face today;
  2. To share the knowledge that credit unions and cooperatives were specifically formed to address these struggles; and
  3. To encourage conference attendees to act on what they've learned when they return home. 

"Credit unions, like all cooperatives, are best seen as problem solvers," said Jeff Hardin, who coordinated the conference working in partnership with the DE group. "Credit unions came to the Carolinas a century ago because affordable, ethical credit was not available to most people - particularly those of very modest means. We were seen as a solution to a very difficult problem. That's a helpful framework we use in delivering the conference."

The event kicked off Tuesday afternoon, October 24 with the Life Simulation. The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month-to-month. The attendees were randomly organized into family units, with each person playing a unique role and each family having a unique set of challenges. These families then role-played the simulation through a series of four, 15-minute "weeks". 

Following up on the experiential learning of the Life Simulation, the group learned about the origins of the credit union and cooperative moments on Wednesday and Thursday. This portion of the program focused on the problem solving aspect of cooperatives, and shared the specific and unique role the credit union business model plays within the financial system. 

The attendees also worked in small table groups to share their perspectives and learning points throughout the event. In one exercise, each of these seven small groups analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of one principle and reported their findings with the larger group. 

On Thursday, this group work culminated in group presentations about one of seven credit union pioneers. This assignment included research of their assigned pioneer prior to arriving at the conference, and then working together as a small group to teach the rest of the class what they had learned about their pioneer. 

This Pioneer Storytelling segment also challenged each group to see the motivations each pioneer had in helping the credit union movement organize, understand what problems their pioneer was attempting to solve, and consider how this information connects to the present day. The pioneers profiled included Alphonse DesJardins, Edward Filene, Roy Bergengren, Louise Herring, Dora Maxwell, Thomas B. Patterson of Rowan County, NC (organizer of the first African American CU in the US) and Esau Jenkins of Charleston (Civil Rights leader who organized several cooperative ventures, including the CO FCU). 

The conference concluded with an action planning session that challenged each person to set goals related to what they had learned that they could implement at their credit union or in their community. "I have been in the financial industry for over 25 years, in commercial banking regulation, consulting commercial banks and credit unions all over the country and now back to the regulatory side for credit unions. I have over 1,400 hours of training in the industry and have never attended a class that focused on the true nature and purpose, and history of the industry as this one," shared one conference attendee in an anonymous survey.

The 2018 Principles & Philosophy Conference is scheduled for October 23-25, 2018 at the Caraway Conference Center located near Sophia, NC. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063).  

Tags:  Principles and Philosophy Conference 

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CUaware Protégé Mentor Program applications welcomed

Posted By Jeff Hardin, Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Credit union professionals in North Carolina and South Carolina are invited to apply for the 2018 CUaware Protégé Mentor Program. The program connects professionals with a mentor at another credit union for a period of one year. Through a process that is collaboratively designed by the mentor and protégé, a plan and goals are developed, and a strategy for maintaining regular contact is created.

An important change to the program in the upcoming year includes dropping an age requirement to participate as a protégé. "In previous years, the program mirrored the age requirements of the CUaware Protégé Competition," shared Jeff Hardin, the coordinator of the program. "Going forward, we think the program can continue to grow in its scale and impact by recognizing that all professionals who want to expand their horizons can benefit from mentoring." 

Applications will be accepted through the end of the year. The 2018 program year kicks off in Charlotte on February 1 with the CUaware Protégé Mentor Program Workshop. The Workshop takes place prior to the start of the Carolinas CU Connect event. Lee Fogle, an executive coach, will facilitate this interactive session. 

If you are interested in mentoring or being mentored, you will find complete details and application forms on the CUaware Protégé Mentor Program page. Please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063) with any questions. 

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