On October 25, 1946, Great Falls U.S. Employees Federal Credit Union received an Approval of Organization Certificate to operate as a Federal Credit Union serving Federal employees in Cascade County, Montana. This original field of membership was expanded in 1971 to include U.S. Government employees who worked in Chouteau, Liberty, Pondera, and Teton Counties in Montana, not far from Great Falls. A further field of membership expansion took place in 1978 which allowed “members of immediate families” to become eligible to establish membership with the credit union too.
In 1982 after a merger with M.A.N.G. Federal Credit Union, our name was changed to G.F.G.E. Federal Credit Union, and our field of membership expanded once again. The merger opened membership to military and civilian personnel of the Montana Air National Guard, Montana Army National Guard, along with the U.S. Army and Navy Reserve.
In 1998 G.F.G.E. recognized another opportunity to expand membership and applied for, and was approved, to operate under a “Community Charter”. This expanded the field of membership to include everyone living within a 5-County region around Great Falls, which includes Cascade, Teton, Pondera, Chouteau and a portion of Lewis and Clark Counties. No longer was credit union membership restricted to “Select Employee Groups”, but rather membership eligibility became geographical.
To compliment our charter and field of membership change, we also pursued another name change. Searching for a name to describe and represent the history of this great region and the people we serve, the name “Russell Country” Federal Credit Union was selected.
The following year, the credit union commissioned local artist Brian Morger to depict the area which famed cowboy artist Charles M. Russell used as the backdrop in many of his paintings. Morger created “Russell Country” in hopes that it would evoke the mystique and grandeur of Russell’s vanishing west. The butte featured in the Morger painting is located near present day Sun River, Montana west of Great Falls, and is referred to as C.M. Russell Butte. The C.M. Russell Butte is the basis of the Russell Country Federal Credit Union logo.