A lot of people hesitate to use credit unions because they think that credit unions don’t have many branches. They think that they won’t have access to their money when they need it, or that it will be harder to make deposits, money transfers, etc.
Even though people may think these things are true, they’re actually false. In an effort to make credit unions more accessible and convenient to their members, over 1,000 credit unions formed a network called CO-OP Shared Branches. Credit union shared branches make members’ accounts accessible nationwide.
Here’s How Shared Branching Works
Credit union shared branches build a network of more than 5,600 credit union branches across the United States. CO-OP Shared Branching also includes over 30,000 ATMs. By building up this network of shared branches, credit unions now have more branch locations and ATMs than some of the largest banks in the United States.
But to get an idea of how this can help you, let’s look at an example:
Deseret First Credit Union has 12 branches, all of them in the state of Utah. If you were looking for a credit union and saw that it only had 12 locations, and all of them were in the same state, you might be a little concerned about accessibility to your checking account when traveling or moving.
However, Deseret First Credit Union is part of the credit union CO-OP Shared Branches network. As a member of Deseret First, if you go on a road trip or move across the country, you can look for the CO-OP Shared Branch logo in other credit unions and access your Deseret First checking account as easily as you could in Utah.
So let go of your worries about possible limited access to your credit union. With credit union shared branching, you can access your account anywhere in the country.
What You Can Do at a Shared Branch
When you walk into a credit union shared branch, you’ll need three things to get started:
- The name of your credit union
- A valid ID
- Your account number
With those three things, you’ll be able to easily access your account.
Once you’ve accessed your account, you’ll be able to deposit money, withdraw money, and transfer money between accounts with no problems. Some things like purchasing money orders may include a small fee, but for most of your account transactions, fees shouldn’t be a problem.
There are a few things you can’t do at a credit union shared branch. One thing you can’t do is apply for a loan. To apply for a loan, you will need to be at your credit union’s actual location. Also, setting up an account/membership may be difficult. For example, if you walked into a Deseret First Credit Union shared branch but wanted to set up an account with a different credit union, you wouldn’t be able to. Deseret First helps to mitigate this confusion by offering a streamlined online application process for both loans and a accounts.
Other than those few limitations, you should be able to do most of your normal account transactions easily. Additionally, the workers at these credit union shared branches will be perfectly willing to help you out if you have questions.
What Makes Shared Branching So Great?
Aside from making credit union branches accessible to more people, credit union shared branching has some additional perks. One of the biggest is that you can keep the community, lower fees, and personal service that comes with most credit unions rather than switching to a large, impersonal bank.
Unique to Credit Unions
Shared branching is unique to credit unions. Banks may have a lot of branches, but few (if any) banks have as many branches as the network of CO-OP Shared Branches does. And none of them have as many ATMs.
With no shared network of branches between banks, there’s really no competition; credit unions have more accessibility than banks do. This also means that whatever credit union shared branch you walk into, you’ll feel like you matter. Credit unions generally serve smaller communities of people than banks do, so the workers are more than happy to work with you, as you are part of their community.
Credit unions have a lot of unique features that banks don’t have, but shared branching is one of the most unique features of credit unions. Credit unions’ belief in serving a community has led to them creating an awesome, convenient, and caring community between most credit unions in the nation.
Credit unions generally have fewer and lower fees than banks do. This stays true even when you’re using a CO-OP Shared Branch.
For your typical transactions (deposits, withdrawals, and transfers) you shouldn’t pay any fees for using a shared branch. Using a shared branch will be just like walking into your home credit union branches.
Even better, there are zero fees at every one of the 30,000+ shared branch ATMs in the nation. You don’t have to worry that getting some cash will cost you like it might at a bank ATM. Credit union shared branches charge no fees for withdrawing money.
Finally, while there are sometimes fees for purchasing things like money orders at a shared branch, those fees are generally kept pretty low. And the fees only apply to specific things, so again, your normal transactions shouldn’t be affected by any fees.
Get Help Face-to-Face
Living in a world of online shopping, online meetings, online banking, and more, it can seem a little pointless to have physical branches. But, as it turns out, more people use physical branches than you might expect.
Online banking has definite limitations, especially for businesses. If the amount you need to deposit exceeds the limits of daily online deposits, you have to go in to a physical credit union location. Same thing with transfers and withdrawals.
If large deposits, etc., are not something you deal with, there’s still the added convenience of being able to ask an actual person questions about your account and any problems or difficulties you may have with your transactions. This is especially useful for people who are new to credit unions, or to young people setting up their first checking account.
Credit unions work to take care of their community. You can always count on that. If you want to join a credit union that’s connected to the shared branching network, contact Deseret First Credit Union today!