Shared branching is a service that lets credit union members use branches of other credit unions to conduct business. If you can’t make it to your branch, you’ll be able to complete most transactions at a different credit union (assuming both participate in shared branching—many do).
Shared branching is an under-appreciated benefit of belonging to a credit union. Many transactions are free, but small fees might apply—so check with both credit unions if you have any questions.
What You Can Do
If your credit union is part of the shared branching network (formerly known as CU Service Centers), you can complete most routine transactions from anywhere, including:
- Make deposits at any credit union that’s part of the network.
- Withdraw cash from a teller or ATM.
- Make loan payments.
- Move money between accounts.
It’s possible to do even more, depending on the branch you visit and the services they provide, but you might need to pay modest fees. For example, you might be able to buy cashier’s checks and money orders if you need them for a purchase.
For more complex services, you’ll need to work directly with your credit union. For example, applying for a loan or opening a new account might require a trip to your “home” credit union’s branch (although you might be able to get it done on the phone or website). Of course, if you’ve moved or changed your circumstances, you can always try to join a more conveniently located credit union.
What You Need
It’s easy to use shared branching. To access your account, bring your account details with you—tellers at other credit unions generally cannot look up your account number. You’ll need the following:
- Your “home” credit union’s name
- Your account number
Use the deposit slips provided by the branch you’re visiting. To be safe, ask if there is a special deposit slip for non-members using shared branching. The tellers and other staff will be happy to help—they’re used to working with members of other credit unions.
In most cases, you’ll work with tellers inside the branch. However, if you use the same branch frequently, you might be able to grab a few extra deposit slips and use the drive-through if you’re so inclined.
Finding Shared Branches
Many credit unions participate in shared branching. If you know there’s a convenient branch nearby, give it a try.
There are more than 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branches nationwide. Use the CO-OP locator tool to find a branch (and get the app for your mobile device, which points you to the nearest branch or free ATM).
The Benefit of Shared Branching
Sometimes it’s not convenient to go to your credit union’s branch. Shared branching helps you in numerous situations:
If You’ve Moved or are Traveling
There’s most likely a credit union branch nearby. CO-OP Shared Branches exist nationwide, in large and small communities. There’s no need to rush to a credit union before you leave town—you can probably do whatever you need wherever you’re going (assuming you’re staying in the United States).
If Your Schedule Isn’t Banking-hours Compatible
There’s a good chance you can find a credit union with more suitable hours. Different credit unions serve different customer bases, which may consist of people in jobs with rigid schedules. You can benefit from any credit union’s operating hours regardless of your profession or credit union membership.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I have to pay fees at other credit unions to withdraw or deposit money?
Most credit unions participate in a shared branching program so their members can perform essential banking services like withdrawing and depositing funds without paying a fee. You can find what shared branches are near you by visiting your credit union's website or using a CO-OP locator tool.
Can I transfer from a credit union to a different bank?
As long as you know your checking account number and the routing number of the other institution, you will be able to transfer funds between your credit union account and another bank. When you set up the electronic transfer, your credit union account will send small deposits to the other account to verify the connection. After these small tests, you will be able to transfer between the accounts as needed.