SAN ANTONIO – Two longstanding Texas supporters of and participants in shared branching have added the ability to acquire transactions as well as being able to issue transactions. Acquiring shared branching transactions means a credit union accepts other credit unions’ members to conduct transactions. Issuing shared branch credit unions enable their members to make transactions at other shared branching credit unions. In general, issuing shared branching transactions has been the bigger impediment to shared branching participation because credit unions have often felt unsure about sending their members to other credit unions. But the $684 million University FCU, and $228 million Greater Texas FCU, both based in Austin, moved from just issuing to also acquiring transactions “because it was the right thing to do.” “It was after we came to understand how much of a service that this provided to our members that we wanted to begin offering the same service to other credit unions,” explained Tony Budet, CEO of University. “This was just the next logical step,” he said. Budet said the credit union became such a supporter of shared branching that it put a map up behind all of its teller counters to let its members know about all the places in the country where they could conduct shared branching. “On a campus as large as ours (the University of Texas campus in Austin is 50,000 students and faculty) we really found the shared branching network helped us keep our members,” Budet said, adding that every semester he met with parents of incoming freshmen who were opening accounts for their sons and daughters. Shared branching is an easy and convenient way for the parents to deposit funds in their children’s accounts. Budet said that the CU plans to eventually make all of its 10 branches shared branching acquirers and recently added shared branching to two more. Bridget Brandt, marketing director at Greater Texas, explained that her CU had added acquiring to two more of its 14 branches and that it chose do so out of similar motivations. “We have some branches that really don’t have any other credit union branches nearby,” Brandt said, “so in those branches our adding shared branching has a greater impact.” She said that the credit union remained uncertain about adding shared branch acquiring to all of its branches because, while shared branching transactions do not take any more time individually than member transactions, they still bring more people overall to the branch. “We just have some branches where adding any more volume to the branch would be a real issue for us,” Brandt explained. “The two branches where we were able to start offering it are branches where we have some modified automated teller capacity which can reduce the volume on our teller lines.” Significantly, even with the spurt of interest in shared branching that this year’s hurricanes brought, neither Budet nor Brandt said they had played a pivotal role in the credit unions’ shared branching decisions. Both said they had been working on plans for adding shared branching acquiring to at least some of the branches for some time. But Paul Ellis, vice president with the Texas League’s Member Service Center shared branching network, said that this year’s storms have had a definite impact on helping credit unions understand the impact and role of shared branching. “One of the things we ask in our shared branching presentation is whether the credit union is more comfortable sending its members to the bank branch closer to their home,” Ellis said. “The storms have just brought that question home even more because without shared branching a bank branch may be all there is available in a disaster.” [email protected]

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