Hall of Leaders inductees

WASHINGTON, DC (February 28, 2023) — Each year, the Credit Union House in Washington, DC honors impactful credit union professionals with the “Hall of Leaders” recognition. This is a unique and special designation that pays tribute to those who have made a significant impact on the credit union movement at the local, state, and national level.

The Dakota Credit Union Association (DakCU) is very pleased to announce that on Sunday, February 26, Paul J. Brucker, President/CEO of Railway CU (Mandan, ND) and Melanie Stillwell, President/CEO of Western Cooperative CU (Williston, ND) each received this honor during a ceremony held at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. Jeff Olson, President/CEO of DakCU presented the awards and addressed attendees with a summary of the many contributions the two Dakota credit union professionals have made throughout their careers.

Paul J. Brucker, President/CEO of Railway Credit Union, has a long history with the Mandan, ND based financial institution. He was a high school student when he first took a part-time job in the late 1980s. By the time he assumed the CEO title, he had worked in every single position available at the credit union, including maintenance, and even acted as janitor for a period. Today, he leads the credit union with more than 7,600 members and $160M in assets.

Brucker has been a North Dakota CULAC Trustee for many years. With strong feelings about the burden of regulations and the importance of advocating for credit unions, he plays an active leadership role in educating the credit union community about the importance of CUPAC/CULAC. He also serves on the CULAC Executive Committee and has earned the CULAC Ambassador designation for many years. North Dakota consistently ranks in the top three states nationwide meeting CULAC fundraising goals, and this is due in large part to the efforts of Paul J. Brucker.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Moorhead State University (Moorhead, MN) and a master’s degree in management from the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND). He has served as a governor appointed member of the North Dakota State Credit Union Board since 2005.

Melanie Stillwell began her long credit union career right out of college, where she received degrees in accounting and finance. Her first position was with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) as an examiner starting in 1986. After years of training and working with NCUA, she began working at Safeway Rocky Mountain FCU in Denver as Senior VP of Finance. In 1998, she was hired as Executive Vice President of Western Cooperative CU, before being promoted to CEO in 2002.

As CEO, Melanie oversees Western Cooperative Credit Union, a large, community chartered, agricultural-based credit union that does a significant amount of agricultural lending. While the institution originated in Williston, ND, they have grown through the years and now have nine locations in western North Dakota. When Melanie first started at the credit union, they were at $75 million in assets – today they are over $436 million.

Stillwell has served on the North Dakota State Credit Union Board as a governor appointee since 2003. She has served on the Dakota Credit Union Association Board since 2017, and served as a board member for Pactola, a lending CUSO established by Dakota credit unions. On the national level, Melanie has served three terms on the CUNA Examination & Supervision Subcommittee.

Names of Hall of Leaders inductees are prominently displayed on the second floor of Credit Union House and viewed by all who visit the facility, including members of Congress, distinguished credit union leaders, and thousands of annual visitors.

About Credit Union House

(CU House) on Capitol Hill exists to meet the needs of the members of the credit union community while they are in Washington, D.C. It fosters strong relationships between advocates and elected officials, creates a universal, positive awareness of credit unions, and is a powerful symbol of the movement it proudly represents.  CU House is owned by every statewide credit union association/league and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL).

About Dakota Credit Union Association

The Dakota Credit Union Association (DakCU) is the professional financial trade association serving 68 credit unions that employ more than 2,200 individuals across the Dakotas. With more than 520,000 members in North and South Dakota, Dakota credit unions have assets exceeding $8.7 billion. In our mission to help credit unions succeed, DakCU plays a key role in growing membership and helping to provide service excellence to members from offices in Bismarck, ND and Sioux Falls, SD. For more information visit our website.


Sue McCue
Managing Director

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