ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Embarking on what it contends is a new direction on shared branching, Service Centers Corp., the Southfield, Mich. network, has developed a model partnership contract with five Ann Arbor CUs to operate and staff a “hybrid” shared branch in Saline, Mich. Depending on how the arrangement works, the Saline facility, opened last week in a strip mall and equipped with interactive remote tellers, could find similar applications elsewhere in the SCC network. SCC, with 21 shared branches in Michigan and five in the Washington, D.C. area, is a subsidiary of the California-based CO-OP Network. Under its agreement with the five CUs here, SCC is managing the branch and has hired specialized customer reps trained in platform work to open new accounts and handle other services. The six-member staff of the branch will receive “customized” service training to handle special needs of the CUs. “These are credit unions that came to us about a year ago and said they would like to be in a shared environment but wanted us to manage the facility since they didn’t want the responsibility,” explained Dan Balagna, president of SCC. The partnership contract on so-called “hybrid outlets” may next be tried out in the D.C. area, said Balagna.. Participating Ann Arbor CUs in the Saline outlet include: Automotive Federal CU, Huron River Area CU, MidWest Financial CU, and University of Michigan CU plus Michigan Educational CU of Plymouth. SCC said the “Saline Hybrid Outlet is the first of its type because it is credit union owned but staffed and operated by Service Centers Corp,” adding the facility “does set us apart” since no other network, not CUSC or FSCC “has ever offered this type of alternative.” Balagna explained the partnership agreement is designed in particular for CUs in certain locales that “want to participate in sharing” but lack the manpower, administration or resources to actually man the branch. “We do it for them,” said the SCC president. -

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