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Network of ATMs and Shared Branching Helps Level the Playing Field
Friday, November 8, 2013 7:00 AM

Credit unions are generally smaller financial institutions than commercial banks, yet because of cooperation between these not-for-profit organizations, the “credit union movement” is able to serve members of individual credit unions nationwide. Among the best examples of this is a network of ATMs larger than any single bank, and a network of “shared branch” locations larger than all but three national banks.

CO-OP ATM, managed on behalf of 3,500 client credit unions by CO-OP Financial Services of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is a network of 30,000 ATMs across the country. This network enables members (customers) of participating credit unions to access their accounts without incurring a surcharge fee. At 30,000 ATMs, the credit union network is larger than the biggest dedicated bank network.

These ATMs can not only be found on the premises of credit union branches, but in thousands of retail locations such as 7-Eleven, Walgreens and Costco.

The same cooperative spirit has enabled credit unions to compete on an equal footing with banks in terms of convenient access to branches. Shared branching enables members of one participating credit union to enter the branch of another and transact their business as if they were at their own home branch.

“Every credit union wants to be their member’s PFI. A critical key to achieving that goal is locations/touch points,” notes Brian McCue, vice president of Credit Union Resources’ Remote Transaction Resources. “With CO-OP Shared Branching and the CO-OP ATM Network, every credit union can truly compete with even the largest banks.”

The shared branching network incorporates more than 5,000 “live teller branches” throughout the country, augmented by 2,000 self-service locations. About 1,800 credit unions nationwide participate in this network.

With 5,000 branches, the CO-OP Shared Branch network trails only three national banks in terms of size. Credit unions are catching up fast to their competitors, and the sky seems the only limit. CO-OP Financial Services estimates that if all 7,000 U.S. credit unions participated in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, it would number about 20,500 branches.

For more information on CO-OP Shared Branching or the CO-OP ATM Network, please contact McCue, at (800) 442-5762, ext. 6426 or bmccue@curesources.coop.