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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – After years of inaction, shared branching is about to make a break-through in Illinois with as many as 15 credit unions, many of the largest and based in metropolitan Chicago, looking to go “live” with facilities in 2003. The first batch of some 20 shared facilities to be operated by five CUs through Financial Service Centers Cooperative, Inc., the San Dimas, Calif. network, are to be announced here Oct. 17 on International Credit Union Day. Spearheading the shared venture is the $406 million Motorola Employees Credit Union which has been pushing peer CUs to “take a leadership role” on shared facilities so that the number of available outlets can be increased. “There is a great story here, and it’s uniquely credit union,” declared Michael Murphy, Motorola CU’s executive vice president, explaining that CU cooperation on a project such as shared facilities illustrates the low level of turf wars in the industry. “You will never hear a comparable story about banks,” maintained Murphy. The Motorola exec said five CUs including his own have committed to establishing 10 new shared service centers to go live probably in April 2003. A press briefing is slated on Credit Union Day to announce the participants and discuss shared branching which up to now has been operating on a limited basis in the state with a handful of CUs. Other Chicago area CUs taking part in the briefing include Premiere CU, Iliana CU, Meadows CU and Prairie Trail CU. Another CU in Rockford, which he did not identify, “is also considering joining” and there are others downstate and in the Quad cities “that plan to join us next year.” There are four existing shared outlets operated by Baxter CU, Patelco CU, American Airlines CU and Gateway Metro CU near St. Louis. Murphy said shared branching “was first looked at 10 years ago, but at the time CUs wanted stand alone branches rather than outlets.” Because of the high cost and lengthy timeline, he said, “people lost interest.” But in the meantime, several large CUs including Motorola “signed on as issuers to meet the needs of their out of state members.” He listed Motorola, Baxter, Great Lakes CU and Corporate America CU. Shared branching, he said, “is helping us serve our many out of state members-50%” and represents a key element in member retention. “Most members who close their accounts do so because of a lack of locational convenience,” he said, since the employees has left the company or left an area where Motorola has a branch. The campaign to bring in more CUs into the program, Murphy explained, focuses simply on economics. “Put simply, can each CU cost justify becoming an acquirer given the costs of entry, primarily software from their core processor?” he asked, plus ongoing monthly costs, also primarily telecommunications. Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO of FSCC in San Dimas, said the coop is “excited about the enthusiasm and growth of shared branching in Illinois.” “By their example of hard work, Motorola and Baxter Credit Union have done an excellent job of making it a reality in the Chicagoland area,” she said. Shared branching, she maintained is the “great differentiator” since it underscores CU cooperation “that members see, feel and use every day.” And she concluded, “in this era of corporate mistrust and greed, consumers need to know that decency and integrity still exist.” [email protected]

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