Shared branching offers service excellence,
Any credit union can become as convenient, or
more so, than the nation's largest banks, thanks to shared branching—credit unions' collaborative effort to attract and
retain members by cost-effectively expanding convenience. In fact,
shared branching is identified as a means of fostering service
excellence as part of credit unions'
national campaign for growth, Unite for Good. Credit unions need
shared branching to become their members' primary financial institution
as well as to grow income and add new members.
that consumers of all ages and circumstances expect
financial convenience not just online, but in any way their needs
dictate. That means members who retire, graduate, change jobs, move,
travel often, have children away at college, and snowbirds have to
choose whether to stay with your credit union or go elsewhere simply to
retain a physical point of contact.
How shared branching works
Members of credit unions in the shared branching network can
use any branch with the network's logo to make routine transactions such
as deposits and withdrawals, transfer funds, make loan and other
payments, print statements and inquire about balances.
A member needs only the name of their credit union, their account number
and a valid picture ID.
Members can find the nearest branch location by searching the network
database online at www.cuservicecenter.com, or m.cuservicecenter.com on their mobile device. Free apps are
available for iPhones and android devices.
Members can also call 1-800-919-CUSC (2872).
But shared branching lets them stay with your
credit union by allowing any of 5,000+ other CU shared branch offices
nationwide to complete routine transactions (see "How," right).
Rick Hagopian, President of Wisconsin Credit
Union Shared Service Centers (WCUSSC)—part of the nationwide
shared branching network—said some credit unions still mistakenly
fear that their members will be stolen by another credit union in the
"Policies prohibit solicitation of other
credit unions' members, something that's reinforced by secret shopping
among participants," he said. "Member stealing just doesn't happen. What
we have seen is branch users experiencing greater satisfaction with
their own credit union, and even a branch-networked credit union winning
service awards in a city where they have no proprietary office."
Participants have also cited shared branching
as important in relation to their other
If your credit union is
outside the massive credit union branch network – which today already is the fourth largest branch
network in America, rivaling the three
largest national banks – you're already at risk of losing members,
Hagopian added. He also said non-participants are not maximizing service
"Even the largest credit unions can't build
their own branches fast enough or efficiently enough to rival the access
that 1,756 shared branching credit unions currently offer nationwide, 45
of which are Wisconsin credit unions," he said.
CO-OP Financial Services – which will
soon implement a rebrand of shared branches nationwide – issued white papers
on shared branching
myths and convenience that cite the many bottom line benefits for credit
The white papers reveal that shared
- Helps retain more profitable members. While shared
branching users only make up 6.8 percent of all the households at the
average credit union, they deliver 12.7 percent of the total
profit. On average the annual household
profit for shared branching users was $90.25 compared to profit of only
$7.07 on households that do not use shared branching.
- Boosts non-interest income. One
study found that shared branching participants saw non-interest income
at 1.43 percent of average assets, 17 basis points higher than credit
unions that do not participate in shared branching. (Although it is not
necessary to open your branches to serve other credit unions' members,
Wisconsin participants that do are earning at least $1.47 for each
- Increases membership. In a recent
study, membership grew among seventy percent of credit unions that
increased their presence through shared branching.
Hagopian explains that most credit unions are
amazed at how inexpensive it is to be part of the network, especially
when they see that by serving other credit unions' members they can
offset the fixed costs of participating. Credit unions often favorably
compare the relatively low costs of participation to the expense of a
full-time employee or even one proprietary branch.
Did you know?
Besides offering the fourth largest branch network in
America, credit unions have the largest ATM network in the country
with 30,000 ATMs,
providing members of participating credit unions free transactions. Free
apps to locate them are available for iPhones and android devices.
To economize even further, the shared
branching interface can also connect credit unions to products such
as mobile banking, call/lending center
services and remote deposit capture.
"When you realize the benefits to a credit
union's balance sheet, the risk of losing members to either credit
unions or megabanks that offer locations nationwide, and the need to
offer the convenience that your most profitable members demand, it's
obvious why shared branching is a top recommendation as part of the
Unite for Good campaign," said League President & CEO Brett
CO-OP Financial Services advances the
"increasing awareness" action step in the Unite for Good growth campaign by providing marketing assistance and
materials in support of shared branching. Credit unions participating in
the WCUSSC branch network received materials to replace the "swirl" logo
with the CO-OP brand as part of a process explained in an archived webinar and FAQ.
Credit unions can order lapel buttons that
proclaim "My credit union has 5,000+ branches!" as well as a handout
that tellers can distribute to explain their credit union's shared
branching convenience. For information on these materials or shared
branching, contact Rick Hagopian at (414) 325-9880, Ext. 3.
for Good effort is an internal growth
strategy developed by CUNA in conjunction with its Board, state leagues,
credit unions and system partners. The plan's action steps – to remove
barriers, increase awareness and foster service excellence–are
aimed at helping more credit unions become their members' primary
financial institution by compelling members to see credit unions as
their best financial partner. Read more articles in our Unite for Good