DESOTO, Texas – Dallas Telco Federal Credit Union and Texas Federal Credit Union are taking money management principals to heart-doubling the return for their members by halving the cost of doing business-with shared office facilities. Only a fine line, an imaginary one, separates the two credit union branches in this South Dallas suburb. The two credit unions staged grand opening ceremonies and a ribbon cutting-the same ribbon-on the same day at the same time in the same building. Every day since their grand opening May 22, they open their doors for business-the same doors. Dallas Telco occupies the left half of the 3,500 square foot facility, and Texas Federal conducts their business from the right half of the offices. Each morning tellers for each credit union open drive-through service windows overlooking the same six lanes. Each credit union serves members in three of the lanes. The two credit union names are featured together on the same signs. Employees wear their different credit union shirts. Nametags designating the different credit unions are on order. Dallas Telco FCU President/CEO Bert Beal saw the need for Dallas Telco to have a presence in the southern sector of the metropolitan area, and Texas Federal President/CEO Sandy Smith was looking to tighten up and curb costs. From casual business conversation daily as the two CEOs moved to and from adjacent downtown offices, the solutions surfaced with an invitation from Texas Federal for Dallas Telco to share the DeSoto office space. Smith said, “We welcome Dallas Telco to our credit union family in DeSoto. Their joining Texas Federal [in sharing office space] is just another example of the credit union cooperative spirit.” “Our members are very excited about it,” Beal said of the Dallas Telco members. “Just having the access in their neighborhood is exciting to them. About 3,000 Dallas Telco members, approximately eight percent of our membership, live or work in that neighborhood. It’s absolutely the most economical office opening we’ve ever managed.” Beal says he is not aware of any other credit unions sharing office facilities, except for shared service centers in which the separate credit unions have no individual identity. “It works for us,” Beal says, “because, for the most part, each of our credit unions has a limited field of membership. Only a small margin of our collective membership is eligible to join both credit unions.” “Will this be a trend? It’s too early to tell,” Beal says. “Most credit unions, at least the ones in the Dallas area, are too competitive and many have overlapping eligibility. For banks, it would be out of the question because of the open eligibility. It works for us because we had a good relationship going in. And, we’ve compromised when we needed to, like on hours of operation and signage.” -


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