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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Credit Union Times’ recently expired online voting poll on giving former credit unions access to shared branching networks netted the most votes ever in an online voting poll and proved just how divided CUs are on this issue. On the surface it may seem like an easy choice. If a CU leaves the industry in favor of a banking charter they shouldn’t be allowed to partake in the credit union industry’s benefits. Shared branching is unique to credit unions. No other financial institutions share their branches to the extent that credit unions do. By allowing former CUs to remain, it is giving them access to a very unique cooperative aspect of the industry. But there’s a flip side to this argument. When former CUs leave the network, they weaken its overall effectiveness by reducing the number of shared outlets members can visit. After all one of the most common consumer complaints against credit unions is they do not have enough “convenient” locations. After 867 votes, the industry is in a statistical dead heat on this issue. The results are as follows: Should credit unions that have converted to banks be allowed to remain as participants of credit union shared branching networks? * No

49.25% * Yes

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