Carolinas CUDE Group
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The mission and purpose of the Carolinas CUDE Group is to work cooperatively to raise awareness of the unique structure and purpose of credit unions, and help credit unions in North and South Carolina enhance their level of success. A council of the Carolinas Credit Union League, membership is open to anyone who has successfully earned the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) designation. CUDE is a program of the National Credit Union Foundation

The Carolinas CUDE group first came together in 2010 as a small group with a simple task to accomplish. Through the years, the group has grown to more than 90 professionals in North Carolina and South Carolina, and has likewise made a tremendous impact on the credit union movement in the Carolinas and elsewhere. This page summarizes their many accomplishments and offers your credit union the opportunity to consider the programs available as a result of their volunteer efforts.   

History & Programs

In January 2010, in the wake of the financial crisis, 20 Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) from North Carolina and South Carolina came together to explore ways to increase awareness of and appreciation for the Seven Cooperative Principles of credit unions and cooperatives.

Pictured: the 2016 Principles & Philosophy graduates. 

From this initial gathering, a two-day Principles & Philosophy Conference emerged. Facilitated by Lois Kitsch of the National CU Foundation and Larry Blanchard of CUNA Mutual Group, this immersion experience educated 30 staff about the history and impact of credit unions.

In the years since, the conference has grown in terms of attendance, impact and prominence in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as the credit union system. In a typical year, between 40-50 credit union staff attend the conference from the Carolinas.

The Principles & Philosophy Conference is also unique in that it is planned and presented by a volunteer group of CUDEs each year. These volunteers give considerable time in the months leading up to the conference, as well as leading all aspects of the conference on-site.

All conference earnings are donated by the League to a CUDE Scholarship Fund that provides credit union staff scholarship opportunities to attend CUDE as well as future Principles & Philosophy Conferences. Click here for more information on CUDE scholarships.   

In addition to the growth of the conference over time, several credit unions in the Carolinas have taken the message back home by adding principles training into their professional development and employee on-boarding efforts. This ensures that new employees and seasoned staff from the banking industry understand and value the differences in the credit union business model.

Across the credit union system, Leagues and groups of CUDEs in other states have organized to create similar conferences, including Texas and Florida among others. In a spirit of cooperation, the Carolinas CUDE Group has shared its conference agenda and curriculum to assist these efforts.    

The 2017 Financial Literacy Day event in Columbia featured the Reality of Money simulation. 

In addition to the Principles & Philosophy Conference, the CUDE group also worked collaboratively in 2012-2013 to create and launch the Reality of Money, an experiential learning program for high school students. Students learn, as they participate, about the impact their choices make in their budget and lifestyle, as they are "transformed" into wage earning, bill paying and financially independent young adults. The end result is that students get a powerful lesson about the real-life choices they will soon be making.    

The Reality of Money differs from other experiential learning models of this type by being free-of-charge for credit unions in North Carolina and South Carolina to use. In addition to several credit unions using the Reality of Money in schools across the Carolinas, it is used in the annual Financial Literacy Day in Columbia.    

The Work Continues 

The Carolinas CUDE Group continues to fulfill the credit union ethic of people helping people in other ways beyond their ongoing support of the above programs. The group participates in the annual International DE Day of Service, which is held the second Wednesday of June each year. CUDEs across the Carolinas, the US and the world work individually or collectively to complete a project to improve the lives of others – and then tell the story.  

The group also works on a variety of informal cooperative opportunities individually and collectively through the year. If you would like more information on the Carolinas CUDE Group or you are interested in becoming a CUDE, please contact Jeff Hardin (919-457-9063).  

Contact Us


323 West Jones Street
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27603

800-822-8859 Phone
919-573-0474 Fax


508 Hampton Street
Suite 300
Columbia, SC 29201

800-822-8859 Phone
803-732-4268 Fax

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