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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The credit union EFT industry continues to shrink as Credit Union 24 said it plans to merge with Concord EFS. The nationwide scope of Concord EFS’ STAR network was a significant factor behind CU24′s recent decision to choose to merge with Concord over other interested parties, including CO-OP Network, according to Jim Park, President and CEO of CU-24. “All the interested parties had strengths and we had to evaluate each one of them with an eye to what was going to best serve our credit union members,” Park said. “Star’s nationwide status would give our credit union members a degree of access they would not be able to enjoy even with CO-OP Network,” Park said. Repeated calls to CO-OP Network were unanswered at press time. Park characterized the two firms as “about half way” through what he described as a four-step process to finalize Concord’s purchase. The letter of intent, which is not binding, was only the first step, Park said. Concord and CU24 still need to complete a series of complicated negotiations before they arrive at a deal which both firms’ boards and stockholders will need to approve. Neither firm would indicate how much money the deal involved. The CU24 Network connects over 400 credit unions via 7,200 ATMs and 7 million cardholders in 35 states. Concord EFS STAR network is the largest PIN-secured debit network in the U.S., with connectivity to 6,200 financial institutions and 127 million deposit accounts, according to the firm. STAR ATM/debit cardholders can use their cards at 224,000 ATMs and 895,000 retail locations coast-to-coast to get cash or pay for purchases, the firm said. [email protected]

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