Go to:

April 2019
< Mar May >
Leaguer Email Subscription

You are not currently subscribed. Click Subscribe below to receive the Leaguer email.

Why Shared Branching Is Third Largest Among All Branch Networks
Friday, October 7, 2016 6:25 AM

Cheryl Sayers, Director of Training Remote Transaction Resources, Credit Union Resources

Did you know that as of June 2016, Shared Branching, with 5,538 branches, is the third largest among all financial branch networks? This information is based on the claims located at Do you really think that Bank of America or Wells Fargo would be willing to share their offices to assist their customers with more access to their accounts?

A Little History
The Shared Branching concept is unique to credit unions. The concept was developed in the late 1960s by a group of credit unions in the Detroit area. They came together and established the first Shared Branch Network. This service allowed credit unions to minimize the costs associated with building their own branches to serve members. More than 40 years later, the concept has grown to 5,538 branches, including both national and international locations. Shared Branching helps credit unions provide a well-rounded package of services to their membership.

Shared Branching demonstrates the cooperative nature of the credit union industry. This service allows credit union members the convenience of walking into a Shared Branching location to transact business with their home credit union, which may be located miles or even states away from where the member is currently living, working, or going to school. Members can make transactions such as deposits, withdrawals, transfers between accounts, and loan payments. Locations may also offer services such as the purchase of cashier’s checks, teller checks, official checks, and money orders.

Participating Shared Branching Credit Unions Are Issuers and Acquirers
All credit unions participating in Shared Branching are "issuers," which means they allow their members to access their accounts and make transactions at other credit union locations within the Shared Branching Network. Being an issuer provides your member an extended relationship with your credit union. Whether they are a long time member who might be retiring and moving out of the area or a parent worried about providing access for their child to finances, this is a member value. Shared Branching ensures that credit unions can retain membership and expand their potential financial gains.

Credit unions can also become a location that processes transactions for guest members of other credit unions. Credit unions interested in becoming an "acquirer" can opt to do so using their current data processing system, or they may choose to use CO-OP CIMple Teller, a web-based application that offers a low-cost budget-friendly alternative. As an acquirer, your branch is a convenience for credit union members and can be a productive source of interchange revenue. Additionally, branch locations that are underutilized can become more cost effective.

Training for Issuers and Acquirers
Communication and training to be issuers and acquirers are incredibly important. Shared Branching participants follow set policies and procedures from the National Shared Branching Network. Additionally, there may be policies and procedures specific to that credit union's state network. These policies and procedures ensure the uniform processing of transactions and that a standard level of service is provided for members of all credit unions. 

What Consumers Must Present
When visiting a Shared Branching location, your members must provide the teller with:

  • A valid U.S. Government-issued photo ID such as a state-issued driver’s license, ID, or U.S. passport.
  • The correct name of your credit union as it appears on the member's monthly statement.
  • The member account number as it appears on their monthly statement.

Additionally, staff are to verify the address on the identification provided with the address displayed by the member credit union. The last four digits of the member owner or joint owner's Social Security Number are to be confirmed as well.

Recent Changes
Changes, as of April 1, 2016, allow tellers to assist members that are unable to remember their account number with the option to perform a “reverse look-up.” This can only be done when the member or joint owner are present and provide the teller with their:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth and last four digits of the member’s SSN.
  • Book number (the account number found within the MICR line of the member’s credit union share draft/check.)

These options have limitations as tellers/MSRs can only attempt to look up a guest member account three times initially and only use the reverse look-up twice. If the teller is still unable to access a member account, they must refer the member back to their own credit union for assistance.

Included with the April 1, 2016, change is the ability for tellers/MSRs to identify member credit unions' payroll check deposits. Tellers that receive payroll checks for deposit have the ability to code those checks that meet the required criteria according to the policies and procedures with a “P” or “Payroll” status code. If the item does not meet the required criteria, they are given an “L” or “Local” status code for processing.

All issuer credit unions should ensure that your data processing system recognizes the new coding so that your membership receives the correct funds availability for the check deposit.

Daily Withdrawal Limits
Member credit unions have options available to them for setting limits on the amount of funds their members can withdraw from Shared Branching daily. It is similar to the daily limit you set for your members doing ATM transactions each day. Most likely this will be a limit across the board, and you will not be able to set different limits for different members. Your IT department or data processor can assist you with how to set withdrawal limits for your members that use Shared Branching.

Additionally, Shared Branching locations may have varying withdrawal limits at their offices. All locations must allow members to withdraw $500 from their accounts, as long as funds are available from the member's account and are able to verify their member ID.

Your members look to you, their financial institution, to offer multiple ways in which to access their accounts. Shared Branching can be one of those easily accessible options for your members and a way for your locations that are underutilized to become more cost effective.