A lot has been made about what credit union shared branch networks should do with credit unions that convert to banks. I say let them stay in the networks. Why shouldn’t other types of financial institutions be allowed entry into shared branching networks? Let’s think about this for a few moments. More participants equals more transactions equals more fee income. This formula seems positive. Here’s another question to ponder. If we participate with banks on a worthwhile effort like shared branching doesn’t that afford us the opportunity to build alliances? Perhaps, with alliances comes the recognition that credit unions have more in common with banks than we have differences. Does this possibly lead to a reduction of the trash rhetoric regarding credit unions’ tax status? You might be surprised! Look how quickly bankers took up the cause for credit unions to have more choices with respect to charter conversions. Wasn’t it surprising how quickly they suddenly wanted to help out credit union management in their efforts to deal with NCUA on this sensitive matter? I can think of several good corporate citizens in my hometown who just happen to be banks. I know they share many of the same consumers that my credit union does business with. Why not make my member’s life easier when traveling and at the same time let him handle his business with the local bank as well? See. it really doesn’t hurt to be neighborly and share! Rick Stout Senior Vice President Charter Oak FCU Groton, Conn.

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