“What’s the difference between a bank and a credit union?”

The facts:

Credit unions are owned by their members, not stockholders. If you have an account at a credit union, that means that you have a say in how it is run. You also get to vote who will represent you when you elect your Board of Directors. A bank is run by stockholders, who buy their decision-making position.

Credit unions are not-for-profit. Any profits that credit unions do make, go back to our member-owners. This is why we can offer lower interest rates and charge fewer fees than for-profit banks.
Credit unions are local. Decisions are made right here, usually within the same day. You don’t have to wait for a loan while we try to get approval from some higher up who lives across the country.

Credit unions offer more personalized service. We feel this is the most important difference. At a credit union, you are seen as a person, not a number. We will do our best to call you by your first name and tailor our services to meet your individual needs. We genuinely care about you and want to provide you with the best service possible.

Bear Paw Credit Union is a full service financial institution

  • Established in 1942. Original name – Great Northern Credit Union Association.
  • Formed by employees of the Great Northern Railroad with shares (savings) and loans.
  • January 1971 the GNCU became the BNCU (Burlington Northern Credit Union) when the two railroads merged.
  • In 1989 the name was changed to Bear Paw Credit Union to better reflect the credit union’s growing diversity of membership.
  • In May of 1996 we merged with North Montana Federal Credit Union.
  • In October of 1998 we merged with Toole County Federal Credit Union.
  • In 2017 The State of Montana approved a field of membership expansion to include Cascade and Teton counties.
  • Our Field of Membership includes – Hill, Blaine, Liberty, Chouteau, Toole, Pondera, Phillips, Cascade and Teton Counties plus BNSF Employees and their families.
  • The main office located in Havre. Other locations include Chester, Chinook, Shelby & Sunburst.
  • Slogan – “We Belong to You.”
  • We are a not-for-profit cooperative where the member is the owner. Profits are returned to the members in the form of lower rates and higher dividends.