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Updated on Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Credit unions offer tangible advantages over for-profit financial institutions. They reinvest their earnings where it matters most: lower costs and higher rates for their members.
A perceived downside of credit unions can be their limited service areas. If you’re a member of a credit union in southern California, for example, what do you do if you need to visit a branch while traveling to New York on business? The CO-OP shared branch network was designed to address this deficiency.
Customers of CO-OP member credit unions can visit the branches of any other member credit union to conduct business. Even better, they have access to thousands of fee-free ATMs nationwide.
If you’re interested in joining a credit union but still have reservations about branch or ATM access, find one that’s a member of the CO-OP network, and you’ll rarely be far from a branch or a fee-free ATM you can use thanks to shared branching.
Why you should consider credit unions
Credit unions have a lot of advantages over traditional banks beyond CO-OP network access to branches and ATMs.
If you have poor credit, you may find that credit unions are more willing to work with you to get a loan or a line of credit. Many credit unions even offer financial checkups or financial education to help you learn more.
If you’re looking to join a credit union that is a member of the CO-OP network, it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time. You can find member credit unions on the CO-OP website.
It’s important to know that not all credit unions are open to everyone. Most credit unions serve a defined group of people. You may need to live in a certain geographic area, be employed with a given employer or meet other criteria to join. Some credit unions allow you to join by becoming a member of a partner nonprofit organization for a small fee. If you qualify for a CO-OP network member credit union, you’ll never be far from shared branching services.