The heavy compliance burden coupled with restrictions on travel are giving CUNA’s online training program a shot in the arm in 2009. The Madison-based Center for Professional Development said its online training sign ups of credit union employees has topped a record 22,000 students, representing 1,200 CUs. “There’s no doubt that improvements we’ve made in the content, the number of training courses available and new delivery systems letting students undergo education 24/7 are also factors in the increases,” declared Todd Spiczenski, vice president of CPD. Many of the requests for virtual training, which now include prepackaged videos and setups allowing CUs to tailor courses for special settings or problem areas, have focused on Bank Secrecy Act modules, but other areas like security and identity theft are also in demand. CUNA, Speczenski said, has managed to respond to CU queries by packaging the training education for branch or remote application at a lower cost in the past because of enhanced technology. CUNA officials said the CPD offerings are tailored strictly to CU applications. Spiczenski forecast that the number of CUs using the program will climb to 1,400 next year. A total of 3,000 new students have been added to the program over the last year, 4,500 in the past two years, a sharp jump since the CPD online education efforts debuted nine years ago. “Our unique situation is that more than 50 of our employees are in remote locations and so training over the phone is just not adequate and travel is expensive,” said Nina Gordon, staff development assistant at Credit Union 1 in Anchorage, Alaska, a CPD participant, “We want our remote locations to have the same access to training as the staff in Anchorage, and so CPD online delivers training to everyone equally.” Shani Vance, senior trainer at Suncoast Schools FCU in Tampa, said the CUNA program has been helpful in any number of ways from reducing book and textbook inventory to letting managers keep better track of employee progress on course work and final exams. “By eliminating so much of the paperwork and putting it online, we’re able to concentrate on the very important face-to-face training and role play,” said Vance. The often tedious task of educating new employees on their own salary processing, pay stubs and benefits has been vastly reduced via the online programs, she said. Paul Nunn, manager of training/development at Smart Financial CU in Houston, said all of the CU’s frontline employees are now required to take certain CPD online courses to receive a merit increase and many support managers require their staffs to take these courses as well. “The convenience of taking the courses online allows front-line staff to develop their skills without taking time away from our members,” said Nunn. –[email protected]

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