What Are Shared Branching Credit Unions?

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Find out how a shared branching credit union is able to provide you with banking services.

A shared branching credit union is a type of financial institution that provides banking services to its members through one or more branches. These branches are typically located in different geographical locations and have been established by the credit union’s sponsoring organization in order to provide greater convenience for their members who don’t live near a branch office.

To become a member of a shared branching credit union, you’ll need to open an account with the financial institution and be eligible for membership based on your location within the cooperative’s territory.

How do they work?

Credit unions are financial institutions that offer many of the same services as traditional banks, but they’re not-for-profit organizations. They allow their members to borrow money at low interest rates, and one benefit of joining a shared branching credit union is you can access your account from multiple locations throughout the cooperative’s territory without having to get an ATM card. 

Shared branches don’t just offer banking services, they may also allow you to perform basic transactions like check cashing and wire transfers that are typically done at your home branch location. 

Shared branching credit unions are a convenient, cost-effective way to manage your finances without having to travel far from home.

Who should use them?

Anyone who lives in a city or town that doesn’t have its own branch office can benefit from joining a shared branching credit union. Many of these institutions allow you to open an account online, and if your preferred financial institution isn’t available near you, it’s not unheard of for members to shop around for the best rates.

Shared branching credit unions are an attractive alternative to traditional banks because they offer similar services without all of the hassles and costs that come with going into a branch office regularly. 

Why should I join one?

Shared branching credit unions are a great choice for anyone looking to streamline their banking experience. Whether you’re new on the job market and need access to your money without having to drive across town, or you want an alternative to traditional banks because they don’t have any branches near your home, shared branching is worth considering. By joining one of these institutions, you can access your account from multiple locations without having to get an ATM card.

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Who is eligible? 

In order to become a member of a shared branching credit union, you’ll need to open an account with the financial institution and be eligible for membership based on your location within the cooperative’s territory. 

You’ll typically need to open a savings or checking account, and you can do so online if your preferred financial institution doesn’t have any nearby branch offices. Not all shared branching credit unions are alike, but they’re generally available for anyone who lives within the service area of their sponsoring organization.

How do I join? 

To join one of these institutions, you can typically enroll online or in person at any branch office. The first step towards becoming a member is to open up an account with your chosen financial institution by providing some basic information such as name, address, social security number, and proof of identity (such as a driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID card). 

You will also need to know how much money you’ll be depositing into your account and what fees (if any) there are for doing so. Next, you’ll need to apply for shared branching membership based on where you live. 

After that, all it takes is visiting the nearest participating location and telling them that you want to make a withdrawal or deposit against your checking account. You can also schedule future transactions ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about missing out on important payments or deposits.

Many financial institutions require that applicants be members of an organization that’s associated with the shared branching credit union, like a labor union or professional association. 

Once you’re accepted into the program, your chosen financial institution will provide you with all of the information about how to access your account at their branches located throughout different towns and cities in your state.

How do I use one? 

In order to use a shared branching credit union, you’ll need your membership number and access code. This information can be obtained from the financial institution where you have an account. 

Once you’re at one of their branches, tell the representative that you want to make a withdrawal or deposit against your checking or savings accounts. You may also schedule future transactions ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about missing out on important payments or deposits.

What are the benefits? 

By joining a shared branching credit union, you’ll benefit from being able to access your accounts at multiple locations without having to carry an ATM card around with you everywhere. 

This is especially useful for anyone who lives in a town or city where there aren’t any branch offices. Many of these institutions also have online banking services that can be used to check your balance, pay bills, and transfer funds between accounts without having to make a trip into the office.

Shared branching is an attractive alternative to traditional banks because it offers more flexible membership requirements than most shared branches do. If you’re not sure whether or not you can join, be sure to contact your preferred financial institution directly for more information.

Other benefits to credit unions are:

Are there any drawbacks to joining one?

One of the biggest drawbacks to shared branching is that there are some limitations on how much money you can withdraw from your account at any given time. In many cases, this limit will be as low as $500 or one percent of your total balance per transaction. However, it could be more if you’re using a branch located outside of your normal coverage area.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware that some shared branches may not have consistent availability of staff or hours of service. This means you’ll need to plan ahead if you want your transactions done in a timely fashion.

Another thing worth mentioning is that there are no fees for withdrawals and deposits at most credit unions. However, this isn’t always the case, so be sure to investigate your options before you join. 

You may also need a different account from the one you have at your shared branch in order to access certain services such as check cashing or wire transfers.

In general, there aren’t very many drawbacks when it comes to using shared branches because they’re much more flexible than traditional banks. In fact, many of these institutions make it easy to join no matter where you live or what your profession is by having more relaxed membership requirements than other financial institutions do.

Just remember that shared branching may not be available at all locations and hours, so plan ahead if you need a quick transaction completed. Also, check whether or not there are any fees associated with your account before joining. 

Some credit unions charge a membership fee or service charges on top of the interest rate, which you might not be aware of if you aren’t familiar with what these institutions offer and how they work.

What does it mean for you? 

A credit union is an alternative type of financial institution that operates as a not-for-profit. Whereas a traditional bank makes a profit by charging fees and interest on loans, credit unions do not. 

It is often easier to become a member of one than it is with traditional banks. They also offer similar services without all of the hassles and costs that come with having an account at a regular branch office. 

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