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After some initial hesitancy, Indiana and Illinois credit unions appear to be on a roll when it comes to shared branching, claiming a milestone recently: a larger branch network than big banks, including Chase, PNC/National City and Fifth Third.Pushing the shared concept in both states has been Credit Union Centers of Indiana, a CUSO, put together by the Indiana Credit Union League and linked to Atlanta-based Credit Union Service Corp.CUCI, which will simply become Credit Union Centers next January, said it now has 201 shared outlets in Indiana and 64 in Illinois, “where now we expect to take on Chase” for market supremacy, said a spokesman.In Indiana, the largest bank-run networks include Chase with 189 outlets, National City/PNC at 184, Old National at 153 and Fifth/Third at 147.“This really speaks to the power of credit unions and the cooperation among Indiana credit union leaders,” said Karol Griffin senior vice president of Teachers CU of South Bend and president of CUCI.In Illinois, which only began limited marketing about shared branching a year ago and expects more CUs to sign up by year end, its biggest booster, Paul Simons, president/CEO of Credit Union 1 of Rantoul, maintained the network has long encountered skepticism by CEOs because of cost and competitive factors.“I’ve changed my mind since we’re now getting $8,000 a month in net income from the branches, and in these kinds of times who could scoff at that,” declared Simons.Credit Union 1 operates 13 of the 64 shared-branch locations in Illinois and for months, “we were simply breaking even on them. And we were initially worried and fearful that our branches would be clogged, but the system has worked well for us,” said Simons.CUCI is part of Credit Union Service Corp., the Atlanta-based national shared branching network that offers access to more than 3,800 shared branch locations nationwide.CUCI is wholly owned by 75 CUs and is admitting this month two more Indiana CUs, KONE Employees Credit Union and Vigo County FCU, said Church Barr, senior division officer for CUCI.Shared branching started in Indiana in 1994 with four separate CUSO’s in different metro markets. All were consolidated in 2002. CUCI locations, said Barr, generate over five million transactions annually, including deposits totaling approximately $750 million.–[email protected]

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