Using Credit Union Service Stations
Monday, Jul 31 2023
Accessing your money should be a simple, convenient experience. You want access to digital and physical banking options, whether running errands, on vacation, or facing an emergency. Credit union service stations, also known as shared branches, are a group of branches allowing members to process transactions at any participating location. If your credit union is a CO-OP shared branching network member, it provides you access to thousands of sites in addition to your home branch.
What is CO-OP Shared Branching?
Shared branching is a network system of credit unions that have joined to create shared branching centers nationwide. The CO-OP network allows members of one branch to perform various transactions at other locations. Shared branching is an under-appreciated benefit of belonging to a credit union.
Benefits of Credit Union Service Stations
Shared branching is helpful for people who want the benefits of credit unions with more expansive branches and ATM access. Credit unions can offer convenience for members to access their accounts at many locations just as if they were at their home credit union. You can complete transactions at any shared location as you would at your home branch. Many services are free, but small fees may apply for certain transactions.
You can use shared branches when you’re:
- Traveling. No need to rush to a credit union before you leave town. With locations throughout most of the United States and overseas, you can do whatever you need wherever you’re going and avoid ATM fees while traveling.
- Moving. If you move to a different town, you don’t need to close your accounts or switch to a new bank. Shared branches allow you to continue using your current account. Find one or more convenient shared branches and continue using your existing account instead of worrying about changing banks. Check it off your moving list!
- In an Emergency. Keep your finances on track, even when the unexpected happens. If you live in an area where natural disasters make travel difficult or are forced to evacuate, shared branches allow you to keep your finances stable and obtainable when your home branch is inaccessible.
- In Need of Convenience. Your credit union might be inconvenient while running errands or trying to avoid traffic. But don’t need to worry about getting to your home credit union since you still have access to more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
Who Can Use a Credit Union Service Station?
Credit union service centers allow members to conduct their banking transactions at any participating branch. To use a service station, you must first become a member of a network credit union. While credit unions and banks offer similar financial products and services, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations operating on a philosophy of people helping people.
Focus Federal Credit Union places more emphasis on you by offering a personal touch most banking institutions can’t deliver. We want to see our members and the surrounding community thrive. FFCU members can visit one of our convenient locations in Oklahoma City, Chickasha, and Newcastle. In addition, FFCU members can access convenient banking at more than 30,000 ATMs and 5,600 shared branches.
Shared branches make it easy to complete:
- Deposits and Withdrawals. Visit a branch for basic transactions such as check cashing, making deposits, and cash withdrawals.
- Transfer Funds Between Accounts. Need to move money between accounts? Stop in and quickly transfer money from your savings to a checking account.
- Check Your Balance. Find out how much money you have, what is available for spending, and which transactions are complete.
- Make Loan Payments. If your payment due date is approaching, make a payment instantly at a shared branch to avoid late charges and other penalties.
- Additional Services. It’s possible to do even more. Depending on the branch you visit and its services, you may be about to have access to a notary, coin counting, money orders, and traveler’s check services.
CO-OPs are super convenient, but you can’t complete every service there. You’ll need to work directly with your credit union for more complex services. Sharing banking isn’t an option for closing or opening accounts, applying for a loan, or conducting Certificate of Deposit or IRA transactions.
What to Bring to a Credit Union Service Station
It’s easy to use shared banking. The tellers and other staff are happy to help as they are used to working with members from other credit unions.
To access your account, you’ll need to provide:
- Your home credit union’s name
- Your member number
- A valid government-issued photo ID
Why Become a Credit Union Member?
Credit unions offer members financial services, including savings and checking accounts, home and auto loans, and credit cards. Regulations and laws are identical to those governing banks, but certain differences exist. Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations owned by the members they serve, which offers you advantages. A credit union is beneficial if you are looking for higher APYs, lower loan costs, and a closer relationship with a financial institution.
One common misconception is that credit unions operate as an exclusive club limited to a specific community or demographic. While certain credit unions are just for people employed at a specific place, who attend a particular school, or who belong to a labor union, Focus Federal Credit Union services specific counties within the Oklahoma City metro area.
As a member, you benefit from:
- Nonprofit Status. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. They answer only to their members, not outside stockholders.
- Personalized Customer Service. Credit unions are usually local or regional, which means service may be more personal. They tend to rate higher than banks on surveys of customer satisfaction. Since credit unions serve their members over shareholders, they go above and beyond to help members reach financial success.
- Educational Resources. Credit unions promote financial literacy with programs on money management. As a member, you can access training and counseling to help you understand complex financial matters. It’s common for credit unions to offer seminars, articles, and other tools to help members sharpen their money skills.
- Lower Fees. Credit unions are exempt from federal taxes. As a result, they tend to have fewer fees for typical banking products. Fees charged are usually lower than other institutions, as well. They also often provide fee-free checking and savings accounts.
- Higher Savings Interest Rates. Unlike for-profit banks, credit unions give profits back to their members through higher interest rates. They typically offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and CDs and lower loan APRs.
- Balance Requirements. Credit unions typically have lower account balance requirements than banks.
- Community Focus. Members usually have similar interests or a common bond. They live in the same region, work together, or have another common thread. Credit unions value the community and give back to their members.
- Insured Deposits. Credit unions, which are members of the National Credit Union Administration, are federally insured for up to $250,000 per depositor.
How to Find a Credit Union Service Station
To use another branch, you’ll need to:
- Locate It. Locate a service station with the locator tool or call 888-748-3266. You can also download the CO-OP app on Google Play or iTunes.
- Have an ID. Identify yourself as an FFCU member. Bring a valid government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
- Provide Account Information. Have your home account number. You may need to use a specific shared branching deposit or withdrawal slip. The local credit union will assist you with branch requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any fees associated with using a credit union service station?
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. Most transactions are fee-free.
Does the FDIC insure credit union service stations?
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides government-backing insurance for bank deposits. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) supports credit unions. Backed by the U.S. government, NCUA covers individual member deposits up to $250,000 at all federally-insured credit unions. So even though credit unions are not FDIC-insured, they still enjoy strong protection from the federal government.
Are credit union service stations open on weekends or evenings?
The 30,000 ATMs are accessible 24/7. The 5,600 shared branch locations are closed on all federal holidays. However, the standalone branches are open on most holidays and evenings and weekends.
Do I need to be a member of a credit union to use their service station?
When you have a membership at a credit union, it means you are a part owner. This membership gives you a voice in how the credit union operates and member benefits, including access to shared banking locations. Shared branching is an under-appreciated benefit of belonging to a credit union.
Focus Federal Credit Union Can Help
Interested in learning more about Focus Federal Credit Union and CO-OP shared branches? Focus offers members convenient locations in Oklahoma City, Chickasha, and Newcastle. In addition, you can access convenient banking at more than 30,000 ATMs and 5,600 shared branches. Contact us today to learn more.