Executives with credit union said the ongoing recession is moving the economic advantages of shared branching to the front burner once again.
The executives reported that having shared branches in their areas enables credit union executives to offer their members branches nearby without having to go through the expense of building new ones. It also enables those facing strong balance sheet pressures to close some of their own branches if there are shared branching facilities nearby.
"No one wants to close a branch, but if you know that your members are still going to have branch access through a shared branch that is less than three miles away, it makes the situation more manageable," explained Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO of Financial Service Centers Cooperative. FSCC members include many larger credit unions in California which, Bang said, have been hit hard by the economic downturn and the fallout of the NCUA's actions with Wescorp.
Craig Beach, vice president of marketing for CO-OP Shared Branching agreed that shared branching's economic impact has continued to grow in importance as the recession has deepened.
"It's always been something of a background shared branching advantage, but we hear credit union executives speaking more clearly and often about it now."