About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Growth of Credit Union ATM and Shared Branch Networks


One way credit unions can compete with the large banks is by belonging to ATM networks and the shared branch network. ATM networks can give credit union members access to surcharge-free ATMs around the nation. A shared branch network allows credit union members to conduct many banking transactions at participating credit union locations within the network, just as if they were at their home branch.

The three main ATM networks for credit unions are the CO-OP Network (owned by CO-OP Financial Services), Credit Union 24 and Allpoint (owned by Cardtronics).

For shared branch networks, there used to be two main networks, the Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC) and CO-OP Shared Branching. However, in 2012 FSCC was merged into CO-OP Shared Branching. So now CO-OP Shared Branching is really the only nationwide credit union shared branch network. It has nearly 5,000 nationwide branch locations. You might find a few other smaller ones. The Xtend CU Shared Branch has 190 locations nationwide with most in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

According to this Credit Union Times article, in 2013 we will "see an increased deployment of shared branching as well as a rising profile for this service." This is good news for savers since shared branches can make it easier to fund CDs and move money around. I experienced the benefits of shared branching in 2011 when I was a beneficiary of a CD from a credit union that was part of the shared branch network. When I closed the CD and received the check, I was able to immediately deposit the check into my own credit union which was also part of the shared branch network.

To find out if your credit union is part of the CO-OP Shared Branch Network, refer to the CO-OP Network search tool. This will also let you know if your credit union is part of the CO-OP ATM Network. You can also use the search tool at CUServiceCenter.com to see if your credit union participates in shared branching.

One thing that's confusing is that your credit union may show up at CUServiceCenter.com, but it may not show at the CO-OP Network site. One reason for the difference may be that some credit unions don't fully participate in shared branching. A credit union may be an issuer (offering their members the shared branching locations) without becoming an acquirer (accepting transactions from guest credit union members). CUServiceCenter.com appears to include credit unions that are just issuers while the CO-OP Network site doesn't appear to include these.

Below are a few of the popular credit unions with information on shared branch and ATM network participation. Unfortunately, some of the top credit unions for savers don't participate in the shared branch network.

  |     |   Comment #1
Digital Federal Credit Union has Shared Branches in our city and it really comes in handy.  Each month I can just go in to the nearest one and withdraw our interest.  Much better than waiting on the mail!
  |     |   Comment #2
Never heard about shared branching until I went to open a CD with my credit union that is out of state and they suggested it. Turns out the share branch was only a a half mile away. Only drawback is your limited on how much you can withdraw.
  |     |   Comment #3
Northwest Federal CU is in shared branch network.
  |     |   Comment #4
The back of my PenFed ATM card lists the credit union as a CreditUnion24 participant. I called PenFed and the customer service agent confirmed they still participate. I notified her that the ATM tool was not functioning on the PenFed site.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union participates in the CO-OP Network.
  |     |   Comment #5


Dear Mr Tumin,

Ways the for-profit big banks continue to maintain their massive customer base, and run their business profitably, despite being at a comparative disadvantage when compared to the not-for-profit Credit Unions are:

(a) offer very number of bank branches and ATMs locally and across different states

(b) offer free ATM access in nearby locations, and some of them even accept deposits (e.g. Citibank in 7 Eleven)

(c) Offer refunds of the ATM usage fees (e.g. USAA refunds ATM usage fees - I forgot upto what limit) 

(d) Offer physical branches overseas with free ATM access (e.g. Citi, Chase, HSBC).

Air Force FCU, Andrews FCU, Northrop Grumman FCU, and Pen Air FCU offer "shared branches" ... I am waiting for last several years for PenFed FCU and Navy FCU to join into the "shared branching" network ...they haven't done this yet ... so the wait continues!  ;-)

Yours Truly,
- Anonymous
  |     |   Comment #6
NavyArmy FCU, Halliburton Employees' FCU, Southwest FCU offer shared branching while Erie GE FCU and University of Iowa CCU (UICCU) do not.

Erie GE FCU has a nice ACH system thus makes up for the lack of shared branching.

UICCU is the worst in this aspect, so far I still cannot get money into their credit union after three years:D

  |     |   Comment #7
Correction: Southwest Airlines FCU does not belong to Shared Branching; but they belong to CO-OP ATM networking which more than makes up for that.
  |     |   Comment #8
I, too, wish that PenFed and Navy FCU would offer shared branching.  They're both great credit unions, but it's hard to move money around with them since they are not in the shared branching network.  Mainly a problem when you're trying to make a deposit.  I don't understand why a CU would not want to be part of the shared branching network.
  |     |   Comment #9
The reason some cu are not memebers of the shared branch network is the high cost of each transaction made thru a shared branch.  These non participating cu save alot of money and they say that allows them to offer higher interest cds and other benefits.
  |     |   Comment #10
Shared Branching has an App too!

Another great way to take advantage of shared branching is through the shared branching mobile banking app.  If your CU participates in shared branching, you can most likely install the Sprig app on your iPhone or Android phone and do transfers or even deposit checks.

If your CU doesn't yet have an app, this is a great option to try.  

Good luck!
Clarice Wilson
  |     |   Comment #11
Credit Union ATM and Shared Branch Networks are really good options.They provide credits at competitive rate and survey has shown that their customer satisfaction rate is also high similar to banks. ATM networks like Nationalcash Systems for credit Unions are an added advantage for every members of Credit Unions.

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