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DENVER-Expanding its geographic reach, CU Service Network, the Colorado Credit Union League’s shared branching CUSO, has signed up its first Wyoming credit union and is nearing an agreement to service a group of seven to nine New Mexico credit unions, it was announced here. The Colorado network said its expansion into Wyoming and New Mexico underscores the growth of shared branching and provides another means for CUs in those states to operate facilities without heavy capital investment. Joining the network in November will be the $110 million Warren Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo. and probably seven to nine Santa Fe and Albuquerque CUs which are expected to sign an agreement with the Colorado League’s Network and have shared facilities operating within two to three months. Papers were to be filed in Santa Fe with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office to organize a new CUSO, NMSB LLC, according to Jared Cahill, vice president of services for the New Mexico Credit Union League which is to become a shareholder along with the participating CUs. Douglas Burke, senior vice president of the Colorado League, said CU Service Network has been talking to leagues in neighboring Kansas and Nebraska, but negotiations on shared pacts are still ongoing. Also joining the network Sept. 1 is the $1.5 billion Ent Federal Credit Union in Colorado Springs. Cahill of the New Mexico League said large CUs in his state have been mulling the shared approach for months and have looked at programs in Texas and elsewhere but selected Colorado considering its 10-year experience in the field and because New Mexico CUs can retain autonomy in the program. “We still have to ink the contract with Colorado,” said Cahill, but if approved by the CU coalition, there could be as many as 12-15 such facilities operating within a year and a half. Shared branching in New Mexico is not new since there are existing facilities in the Las Cruces and Farmington areas as a result of branches operated by out-of-state CUs. In Wyoming, Warren Federal, the state’s largest and located at a large military base, decided on linking with CU Service Network since “40% of its members do not live in Wyoming,” according to Burke of the Colorado Network. -

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