North Dakota credit unions stand out in the field of agricultural lending

Roughrider cooperatives build on a tradition of personal service and expert knowledge to sow the seeds of lending success.

There are 36 credit unions in North Dakota. Ten of them are among the top 39 credit unions nationwide in agriculture loan concentration. Five of them are among the 15 largest ag lenders in the state.

“North Dakota is one of the leading providers of agricultural products in the nation,” says Melanie Stilwell, president and CEO of Western Cooperative Credit Union ($334.0M, Williston, ND) for the past 16 years. “Farmers need loans.”

Western Cooperative was chartered by seven farmers in 1938, and two of its five current board members are farmers. Stilwell grew up on a farm. So did all of the lenders at her member-owned cooperative.

That history is similar to other North Dakota credit unions that were founded by farmers and farm organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.


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