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By: Heidi White

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How Does Shared Branching Work?

Alternative Banking | Cooperatives

Credit unions tend to serve local populations, so finding a branch while you’re traveling afar can be a trick. The CO-OP Shared Branching Network has solved this problem by allowing credit unions across the country to band together and offer services to members of all networked credit unions.

According to the CO-OP website, there are 5,913 shared branches, which means that networked credit unions can offer their members more branches than most other large banks are able to offer. This is a true testament to the power of cooperative thinking!


What is shared branching?

If your credit union is a member of the CO-OP Shared Branching Network, you can do your banking in the branch of another credit union within the network. This can be a huge benefit for members who…


Like to travel—If you fly south for the winter months or simply like to travel (within the U.S.), shared branching can give you peace of mind. Online Banking and Mobile Banking make it easy to get by without a branch, but if you need to make a transaction in person, shared branching has you covered.


Leave the state—If you’re moving away from your credit union and don’t want to switch financial institutions, now you don’t have to. You can continue to support the credit union you know and love from a branch near you.


Live far from their credit union—If you live 15 minutes away from your credit union but another credit union (within the network) is just down the street, you can walk into the closer branch without having to switch your accounts.



What can I do at a shared branch?

At a shared branch, you can conduct most of the transactions you would conduct at your own credit union. You can check your balances; withdraw, deposit, and transfer funds between accounts; make loan payments; and more.


What can’t I do?

If you want to open an account that can’t be opened online, you won’t be able to do it in a shared branch. The good news is that most accounts can be opened online, so this may not be an issue for you. You also cannot cash checks at a shared branch. You can deposit a check and withdraw any available funds, but you cannot cash the check.



We're in the Network!



How do I find and use a shared branch?

you can use the look up your credit union using the Shared Branching locator or the Shared Branching app. Most credit unions within the network will also offer a locator on their website.


Once you get to the branch, you will need your member number, a photo ID, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.


Simply walk up to the teller and let them know that you’d like to make a shared branching transaction, tell them the name of your credit union, and have the abovementioned information handy. It’s really that easy.


One final fact

With just over 1,800 credit unions, out of about 6,000 U.S.-based credit unions, it is not a given that your credit union is part of the CO-OP Shared Branching Network. If you haven’t joined a credit union yet, it is another benefit to look for as you shop around for a financial institution that will follow you where you’re going next.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of VSECU.


About Heidi White

Heidi White is the content and communications manager at VSECU. She is responsible for communicating information and ideas through the written word for the credit union’s internal and external audiences. Her passion is helping people live more joyful lives through timely, useful, and compelling content. Heidi lives in Barre, Vermont.