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Recently I have been asked by various members of the media whether CO-OP Network feels threatened by the FDC/Star merger, the NYCE divestiture, strategic initiatives from VISA, Check21, credit card portfolio sales, other no surcharge networks, and credit union consolidation just to name a few industry bombshells. We often find ourselves mentioned in conjunction with FDC/Star, Pulse, Visa, and MasterCard, exclusive company for a credit union cooperative. Interestingly, all of these organizations are both competitors and partners. CO-OPetition is the term Robert Rose, our CEO, coined several years ago for these relationships. CO-OP Network is different from our CO-OPetition. First and foremost we serve over 1,700 credit unions and are owned by 1,000 of those credit unions. Most importantly, CO-OP Network is not just a no surcharge network, we are a multi-dimensional electronic payments cooperative, integrating ATM, PIN POS, Signature Debit, Shared Branch, Risk Management, and Online Services with one line, one link, one message format, and one settlement. Patronage dividends, price decreases, and dual site continuous processing are also important to identifying who we are. There is only one thing that truly threatens CO-OP Network and many other credit union organizations, a potential breakdown in cooperation between credit unions. There are many public and private companies, and even some credit union organizations, fomenting this breakdown through anti-cooperative and anti-sharing strategies cloaked under the guise of competitive positioning and foregone revenue. CO-OP Network exists because like minded credit unions have banded together to pool processing volumes and share their ATMs to create a delivery system that exceeds that of the largest banks. Many credit unions find themselves entering a new world of CO-OPetition with neighboring credit unions through community charters and SEG expansion. Decision making relating to cooperative efforts is becoming more complex and more difficult. We fervently hope that credit unions, unlike banks, never lose sight of the need to cooperate to serve their members more effectively. James A. Hanisch Executive Vice President CO-OP Network Ontario, Calif.

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