What Is a Shared Branch Credit Union?

Shared branches allow credit union members to make transactions and get services at other credit unions.
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Written by Ruth Sarreal
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What is shared branching?

Shared branching means that if a credit union is a member of a shared branch network, that credit union’s members can go to branches of other credit unions in the network and make transactions like they would at their own.

Many credit unions are part of the Co-op Solutions (formerly Co-Op Financial Services) shared branch network, which is the only national shared branch network, according to the company. In fact, more than 1,600 of the country’s roughly 4,600 federally insured credit unions belong to the shared branch network. Members have access to approximately 5,600 shared branches with locations in all 50 states. Co-op Solutions is able to serve 62 million credit union members through its shared branching services.

Use the Co-op locator tool to find out whether your credit union takes part in its shared branching network. (Other networks exist but aren’t as widespread.) Note that some credit unions belong to both the Co-op shared branch network and its ATM network of 30,000 fee-free ATMs, while others participate in just one of the two. Some credit unions might engage in shared branching with Co-op Solutions but use other ATM networks, such as Allpoint or MoneyPass.

What can members do at a shared branch?

Generally, at a shared branch, members can get all the services and help they’d get at their own credit union branches. At a shared branch of a credit union, you can:

  • Make account inquiries and deposits.

  • Withdraw funds.

  • Transfer money between accounts.

  • Make loan payments.

  • Purchase cashier’s checks.

  • Get a statement printout.

To complete a transaction at a shared branch, you’ll need to provide a few key items:

  • A valid, government-issued photo ID.

  • Your credit union’s name.

  • Your account number.

There are a few things you won’t be able to do at a shared branch, such as:

» Learn the basics: What is a credit union?

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Who should use credit unions with shared branching?

Shared branching is useful for people who want the benefits of credit unions (strong rates and low fees) but also the advantages of a traditional big bank (convenient branch and ATM access). The service can be especially worthwhile for people who joined a credit union in a town that they've since moved away from or that might not be home for long. It’s also great for people who are members of a local credit union but often travel domestically and need access to branches and ATMs.

Which credit unions participate in shared branching?

The majority of credit unions participate in either a shared ATM network and/or belong to Co-op Solutions’ shared branching. If you’re interested in joining a credit union that offers shared branching and/or shared ATM networks, check out the following reviews.

Credit unions that participate in both shared branching and shared ATMs

Credit unions that participate in shared ATMs

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