Missoula Federal Credit Union, Missoula, Mont., has increased its field of membership from three counties to 20 counties in western and central Montana.

The $495 million CU posted a statement on its website saying the ability to serve a larger market “will allow us to compete more effectively.”

“Most of our competitors enjoy larger markets than does Missoula Federal Credit Union. This allows them to take advantage of more opportunities to meet customer and member needs. With this expansion, we too will enjoy these advantages. All to the benefit of our members,” the CU said. “A larger market will enable us to continue to build the financial strength of the credit union. We aim to serve future generations just as effectively as we have past generations.”

In addition to the growth opportunities, Missoula FCU cited altruistic goals: “We want to bring values-based banking to more people in the state of Montana. Our values center on cooperative ownership, being inclusive, empowering our staff and our members, and delivering positive social, economic and environmental impacts. Not all banks and credit unions share that value system. This is a difference that we want to bring to more Montanans.”

Prior to the expansion, Missoula FCU served its home county, Missoula County, plus the nearby counties of Lake and Ravalli. Its new field of membership includes:

  • Persons who live in Beaverhead, Broadwater, Cascade, Deer Lodge, Flathead, Gallatin, Granite, Jefferson, Lake, Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Madison, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Park, Powell, Ravalli, Sanders, and Silver Bow Counties;
  • Persons who regularly work, attend school, worship, perform volunteer services, or participate in associations headquartered in those counties
  • Persons participating in programs to alleviate poverty or distress which are located in those counties; and,
  • Incorporated and unincorporated organizations located in or maintaining a facility in those counties.

According to the National Credit Union Administration, Missoula FCU has 49,000 members, making it the second-largest credit union in the Treasure State, and the largest Community Development Financial Institution. Previously, Missoula FCU merged with the University of Montana Credit Union and Northern Pacific Credit Union.
In a two-minute recorded video message on the CU’s website, President and CEO Jack Lawson informed members of the expansion by offering a glimpse of the credit union’s origins. It was started by eight Missoula police officers who had $320 in a shoe box hidden under a bed.

Jack Lawson, president and CEO of Missoula Federal Credit Union
Jack Lawson, president and CEO of Missoula FCU

Lawson also told members credit unions in the United States have been “consolidating rapidly,” letting them know the number of CUs has dwindled from 24,000 in 1970 to less than 6,000 today.

“Despite this national trend, we are thriving,” Lawson said on the video. “We serve more than 50,000 members and we manage more than $500 million in community assets. Growth and development will help us to continue to build financial strength and deliver impact.

“With your help, we will redefine the role financial institutions play in building thriving, sustainable communities,” Lawson added.

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