Shared branching helps credit union customers

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Look for the ‘swirl’

To determine whether a credit union location is a shared branch, just look for the “swirl” logo. In Northwest Indiana, there are 19 credit unions that participate, offering members access to their money at 221 locations in Indiana and more than 4,000 locations nationwide.

The 19 locations include:

Advance Financial FCU, Chesterton

Allegius FCU, Crown Point

Chiphone FCU, East Chicago

FinAns FCU, Gary

First Trust CU, Griffith

GESB Sheet Metal Workers FCU, Hammond

Grand Heritage FCU, Hobart

Indiana University CU, LaPorte

INOVA FCU, Lowell

LaPorte Community FCU, Merrillville

Members Advantage CU, Michigan City

Members Source CU, Munster

Midwest Carpenters & Millwrights FCU, Portage

Midwest Family FCU, Schererville

Northern Indiana FCU, St. John

ProFinance FCU, Valparaiso

Regional FCU, Whiting

Teachers CU

Tech CU

Credit unions offer a variety of advantages to consumers who want to get the most value and have the most convenience when it comes to financial services. Shared branching is one of those advantages. Credit unions from all over the country share facilities to give members thousands of convenient locations to perform transactions just as if they were in their home credit union. Credit unions in shared branching in Indiana represent the largest financial services branch network in the state — with more locations than Starbucks.

It’s not a new concept, but one that surprises many consumers because of its simplicity and cooperative nature. Indiana’s credit union leaders saw the need for the network 20 years ago, and credit unions in the northwest part of the state were the first to come together to offer it. Today, through Credit Union Centers (CUC), there are 221 shared branch locations in Indiana and 100 in the state of Illinois, including Chicago. CUC is part of a national network that has more than 4,500 locations across the country — and all of them are available to members of participating credit unions. Having this number of locations makes credit unions the fourth largest financial services network, in terms of number of locations, in the United States.

“Shared branching really speaks to the power of credit unions, and the cooperation among Indiana credit union leaders,” says Sandy Heller, CEO of Northern Indiana Federal Credit Union, who participated in the start-up of the program. “By sharing resources, credit unions can keep costs down and offer convenience to their members while staying competitive.”

At a shared branch, credit union members can perform virtually any transaction that could take place at a traditional teller line.

While in-person transactions have been the hallmark of shared branching, credit unions are using the infrastructure to offer account access and transfers via mobile devices. Members of credit unions that have adopted the mobile approach can use the same services at their Indiana credit unions that are shown in the advertisements for large regional banks — taking a picture of a check with a smart phone to deposit it, or sending a text to check a balance. To find a shared branch credit union in your area, visit www.cucenters.com

Provided by the Indiana Credit Union League