One concern that many people have with credit unions is that they don't have the branch coverage that many large banks have. To alleviate this concern, many credit unions have joined CO-OP Shared Branching. This allows credit unions from all over the country to share branches to give their members 1000's of locations to perform transactions just as if they were in their home credit union.
This shared branching service can be useful for savers who often open CDs at credit unions. To fund a CD at a credit union with no nearby branches, you can deposit the money using a local credit union which is part of the shared branch network. That money can be deposited into your savings account at that distant credit union. Once the money is in your savings account at that distant credit union, the CD can often be easily opened with a phone call or an online application.
You may no longer have to travel to your local shared branch credit union to perform these transactions if your credit unions participate in Sprig Online Branching. Sprig is a service that provides a new way to view and transfer money between accounts at different credit unions that participate in Shared Branching. Here's how making transfers are described at the Sprig website:
Transfer money between credit unions instantly! No more waiting days for an ACH transfer to go through. Simply access your wallet and move funds from any account to any other account. Even if they are at different credit unions!
Your Sprig wallet can be accessed from a mobile app or from a PC through a web portal. Sprig also offers mobile check deposit which allows users to deposit checks into any of your Sprig Wallet accounts using the camera on your smartphone.
One problem with Sprig is that not all credit unions in the shared branch network participate in Sprig. According to Sprig's FAQ, "there are currently over 300 financial institutions nationwide participating in the Sprig network." That's a lot fewer than the credit unions which belong to the shared branch network. You can see if your credit unions participate by going to Sprig's Enrollment page. Participating credit unions are charged when their members use this service. If that cost is high, that may be the reason why not more credit unions participate. In fact, at least one credit union has decided to end its participation in Sprig. The reader jep1960 reported in this forum thread (hat tip) that Consumers Credit Union has decided to end its participation with Sprig.
If you can't use Sprig or a shared branch to transfer money from one credit union to another, your transfers may take much longer. If you're lucky, one of the two credit unions will provide a free ACH transfer service that doesn't have small transfer limits. Even if they do have this service, the ACH transfer can take 1 to 3 business days to complete.
Another option is to use an internet bank (like at Ally Bank) to pull funds from one credit union and push them to another. The problem with this is that you'll have a delay of 1 to 3 business days for the transfer to the internet bank and another 1 to 3 business days for the transfer to the credit union. There may also be a hold time at the internet bank of 1 or more days.
Hopefully, we'll see more credit unions participate in both Shared Branching and in Sprig so we can quickly perform transfers between our credit unions. For those looking for the best CD deals, this can be useful.