This post was originally published on August 6, 2015.
One lingering misconception about credit unions is that they are less accessible than their megabank counterparts. Recent data, however, proves this is completely false. In fact, the CO-OP Shared Branch network now checks in at third place – right behind Wells Fargo and Chase – for number of branches available nationwide. That’s right: Credit unions today offer more locations than Bank of America (not to mention, access to over 30,000 ATMs through CO-OP which is more than any of the big banks offer).
What Is the CO-OP Shared Branch Network?
While most credit unions serve local communities, and therefore, don’t have much presence beyond their specific locales, many belong to an expansive system of shared branches and ATMs.
Known as CO-OP Shared Branching, a division of CO-OP Financial services, more than 5,300 “live teller” branches are available throughout the United States. CO-OP Shared Branching enables you to transact business with your regular credit union at the branches of other participating credit unions — something you’ll never do at competing bank branches. If your credit union participates, you also have access through 1,800 self-service kiosks, many of which can be found within select 7-Eleven locations.
Credit union members who are between institutions, or are traveling and nowhere near their home branch, can conveniently visit another credit union’s location without worry of being charged out-of-network fees. They may perform a number of account-related transactions, just as if they were inside their own credit union branch. Is your credit union close to home but far from your office? There may be a shared branch near work.
The Best of Both Worlds
Shared branches and ATMs allow credit unions to maintain one of their greatest benefits – the personal, community-focused service that is foundational to the credit union mission – without sacrificing convenience or accessibility. This gives these not-for-profit institutions the ability to serve a diverse range of members with varying needs while banks continue to serve their bottom lines first.
Today’s credit unions are sophisticated, widespread and convenient. See how easy it is to find a credit union shared branch near you using the CO-OP locator.