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  • CU Strategic Planning

HERO Financial Counseling Training Program Helps CDFIs Serve Those Most in Need

The HERO Community Development Certified Financial Counseling program, developed and administered by CU Strategic Planning, has been updated to be more interactive, help community development financial institutions better track employees’ progress through the training, and empower front-line staff to better assist low- and moderate-income consumers.

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The web-based training, testing and certification tool was designed to help CDFIs better serve low- to moderate-income people, as well as demonstrating their commitment to mainstream financial access for all. HERO (Helping Everybody Reach Opportunities) focuses helping to make a difference in peoples’ lives by training CDFI staff on the very best techniques for identifying financial distress, intervening and coaching low- and moderate-income individuals and families to improve their financial lives.

“Upgrading to a new learning management system makes HERO more valuable than ever for unlocking opportunities in economically distressed communities,” CU Strategic Planning Vice President of CDFI Grant Compliance Christine Duncan said. “Our goal is to ensure CDFIs have the very best resources to serve America’s most financially vulnerable. The updates we’ve made will make that easier for our clients.” Duncan also pointed out that the training and tool can help credit unions that received CDFI RRP awards to achieve their lending goals for grant compliance.

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HERO's comprehensive curriculum consists of nine courses

The HERO curriculum contains nine courses, testing staff knowledge after each section. After all are complete, staff receive a certification. HERO trains teams to work directly with consumers to prevent financial catastrophes by catching distress early and preventing losses to borrowers. Credit unions’ loan portfolios will also increase as staff trained as Community Development Certified Financial Counselors are able to identify high-priced and predatory loans to refinance at the credit union. Members benefit from paying down debt faster, retaining household income and improving creditworthiness. The training program is priced so organizations can easily train and certify all their staff.

CU Strategic Planning Chief Strategy & Advocacy Officer Mike Beall added, “The identification and refinancing of high-interest rate loans from predatory lenders will change lives, which in turn creates loyalty and measurable impacts beyond the balance sheet. HERO provides more than just training and eventual certification: It’s a toolbox with a constantly updated database of in-depth information on the latest predatory practices, problems consumers will come to you to solve, links to outside tools and resources that delve deeper into topics, as well as practical tools and calculators that your team can employ throughout the consumer financial coaching process.”

Learn more about HERO counseling at, and learn more about why your staff should be financial counselors with our webinar, 4 Reasons You Need to Train Your Front-Line Staff As Financial Counselors.

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