ABOUT US

Fergus Federal Credit Union is locally owned and operated. That means all decisions are made locally, by those who live and work in our community. Decisions can be made more quickly and on a more personal basis. It also means that we're better able to keep in touch with you and your needs.

Service was the original premise of credit unions and service remains the driving force behind credit unions today. Our only purpose is to serve our members, and we do it well.

History

What is A Credit Union

Fergus Federal Credit Union is a financial cooperative organized in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Credit Union Act for the purpose of promoting thrift among its members and creating a source of thrift for provident or productive purposes.

A seven person Board of Directors governs the Fergus Federal Credit Union. The Directors meet monthly and as needed. Directors are elected at the annual membership meeting. The Board of Directors appoints the Supervisory Committee and other committees.

Credit Unions are a cooperative, owned by its members, who democratically control it. Credit Unions operate on a not-for-profit basis. Credit Unions rely heavily on volunteer officials for direction and control.

Early Credit Union History

Fergus Federal Credit Union applied for its charter on August 5, 1953. The Bureau of Federal Credit Unions approved it on September 15th, 1953.

The first members to subscribe for the charter include H.A. Davenport, Golda Davenport, Frank Maruska, Leonard LaTray, William J. Bucher, David Phillips, Everett Moore, Clarance Bussey, Miro Heil and Alvin Anderson.

The first expense of the credit union was on September 30, 1953 for $23.25 to the Treasury of the United States, no doubt to pay for the charter application.

The first member deposit was recorded on October 1, 1953 and the first loan of $200 was granted on November 2, 1953.

Field of Membership

Fergus Federal Credit Union's field of membership includes persons who live, work, worship, or attend school in, and businesses and other legal entities located within Blaine, Chouteau, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, Meagher, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Wheatland Counties, Montana; meets the underserved "investment area" definition of Section 109 c (2) of the Federal Credit Union Act; (5-4-04)

Merger

In 1975 the Lewistown Federal Credit Union merged into the Fergus County Federal Credit Union. At the time, Lewistown FCU had $86,000 in assets and served 210 members. Fergus County FCU was $735,000 in assets and served 892 members. Lewistown Federal Credit Union served local teachers and county employees. Their office was in the county shop on Airport Road.

Management

Bill Spoja, Sr. was a long time Manager and Treasurer of the Board of the credit union, serving from 1959 until his death in 1984. Bill Spoja, Sr. was joined on the board in the early years by such persons as Oscar Kippenhan, Dean Archer, David Philips, Wencil Vanek, and Max Hertel. Edna Cook served as the office manager and assistant treasurer. The credit union has had essentially three managers over the years. Edna Cook met many of the people who first came into the credit union as their office manager. Finally, there was so much business that Spoja had to move into the office to help run it as its treasurer. It was during this time that he and many of the board members made it a point to visit with dozens and dozens of potential members. Many of them joined the credit union and brought family and friends with them.

Bill Spoja, Jr. served as an interim manager for several months from Bill Spoja's, Sr. death until Robert Bjelland was hired in December 1984.

Robert Bjelland has served as President for over 33 years. He previously worked for the Montana Credit Union Network.

Locations

The first credit union office location was near the current location. Space was shared with an automobile agency and an insurance office. Within ten years its membership had doubled and it shares had increased five fold.

Spoja, Sr. worked to secure a separate and independent office for the credit union because he knew that a separate identity for the organization was imperative if it was to grow, as it should. And grow it did. The office was moved to the Bank-Electric Building and from there to a larger office in the same building.

It was in 1976 that the credit union moved to new quarters across the street from the post office. Its growth continued at an even greater pace.

In March 1986 the credit union moved to a newly constructed building at its current location of 106 East Janeaux Street and in 1997 the credit union expanded and remodeled the building again.

Officials

There have been numerous officials and staff who have served the credit union over the years. The officials all served as volunteers and their long hours of service and dedication cannot be thanked and appreciated enough. With out them the credit union would not be what it is today.

One of the longest serving board members was Ray Hornya, from Roy, who served nearly 30 years. When Ray retired from the board, he was recognized at the Annual meeting and someone figured the number of miles he had driven from Roy each month for board meetings all those years. It was a large number.

There have been numerous other board members, credit and supervisory committee members over the years. We don't have records of everyone's name, but a few of them over the years are as follows: Dick Brown, Tye Phillips, Craig Flentie, Dolores Sramek, Crystal Matteson, Bob Oldenburg, Oscar Kippenhan, Leonard Mapston, Roger Pollard, Barbara Collins, Dick Wende, Fred Eden, Earl Shelton, Alan Aldrich, Leo Cerovski, John Thune, Roger Wolterman, Ed Althoff, Pete Brekhus, Joe Braunbeck, Cynthia Baumann, Bill Frisbee, Tom Gehlen, Russ Spika, Fred Lechner, Freida Robertson, Patrick Ginnaty, Bev Butler, Jim Sennett, Ernie Hruska, Earl Martin, R.S. Martin, Harry Hefty, Gerald Wise, Charles Fah, Fred Kottas, Choe Noel, John Stolle, William Rutherford, Garnet Bacon, Richard Berg, Gary Bumham, Dave Carter, Tom Powell, Howard Handford, Clarence Bussey, KellyAnne Terry, and Jim Wier, Jr.

Current directors include Spencer Walsh, Chairman; Tony Pierce, Vice-Chairman; Scot Solberg, Treasurer; Carrie Mantooth, Secretary; Michele Ayers, Director; Tracy Bent, Director; Sterling Sundheim, Director; and Leslie Colver, Recording Secretary.

Current Supervisory Members include Tracy Bent, Chair; Marge Nesselhuf, Carol Swanby, Rhonda Long and Gail Kurns.

The current Membership Officer is Tracy Bent. Recently Carol Clark and Dick Brown were the Membership Officers. Prior to that, Betty Hallquist was the Membership Officer for many years.

Staff Members

Some of the staff members during the 1970's and early 1980's were Shirley Gregson, Shirley Cooper, Lora Lee Trapp, Freida Plovanic, Lorrie Conroy, and Mary Estelle Spoja. There have been numerous employees since then.

Current staff include Bob Bjelland, President; Jayme Durbin, Vice President; Lorrie Durbin, Accounting Manager; Amy Miller, Loan/Mortgage Officer; Tawnia Gerber, Loan Officer; Brian Henderson, Loan Officer; Erin Knerr, Loan Officer; Pete Moe, Commercial/Ag Loan Officer; Dixie Denton, Member Service Representative; Nancy Wichman, Member Service Representative; Tami Mathison, Teller; Judy Fraser, Head Teller; Michal Lahr, Teller; Tyra Knerr, Teller; Shayna Hertel, Teller; Laure Watson, Receptionist; Kendra Wichman, IT/Compliance; Amber Vogl, Loan Processor. 

Services

In the early years, the credit union only offered share accounts and small loans. The credit union began share certificate accounts and small real estate loans in the 1970's. The credit union began offering share drafts in 1980. Money Orders were started in 1984. IRA and other savings accounts were started in the mid 1980's. Savings Bonds were offered in 1993. ATM service was first offered in 1996 at Eddies Corner and at the remodeled building in 1997. Voice Response was first offered in 1996 and PC Home Banking was offered in 2001. A Real Estate Mortgage Service was started in 2002.

Fergus FCU Growth Statistics

Year Shares Loans Assets Members
1979 $1,692,132 $1,874,835 $1,900,000 1,900
1984 $2,075,116 $3,880,900 $4,354,500 2,647
1990 $13,633,303 $10,448,359 $14,721,693 4,368
2000 $20,774,989 $17,610,794 $22,774,989 5,690
2010 $36,642,700 $29,478,917 $41,345,110 5,754
2011 $39,269,949 $28,729,412 $44,230,847 5,871
2012 $45,661,103 $31,731,045 $51,041,948 5,998
2013 $47,413,505 $33,081,452 $53,185,331 6,059
2014 $51,633,545 $34,597,956 $58,137,705 5,904
2015 $56,868,403 $35,424,933  $63,845,876 5,890 
2016 $58,089,760  $38,706,546 $65,528,371 5,870 
2017 $57,821,258  $39,852,438 $65,936,709 5,680 

Financial figures are not available for earlier years.

As of year-end 2014, there were 53 credit unions in Montana with total assets of $4.4 billion  serving 381 thousand  members. The combined shares of all these credit unions are $3.7 billion  and total loans are $2.3 billion. Fergus Federal Credit Union is the 22nd largest credit union in the state. The largest credit union in the state has assets of $1.2 billion and the smallest credit union has assets of less than a million.