The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based CO-OP Financial Services announced a patronage, or shareholder dividend, pool of $53.3 million for 2015, which equals the highest annual dividend ever distributed by a CUSO for its owner credit unions.

The shareholder patronage for 2015 raised the total patronage amount made available by CO-OP since the CUSO became a cooperative in 1996 to $367.9 million.

The $53.3 million patronage, according to the announcement, is partially the result of the CUSO’s sale during 2015 of most of its investment in Ensenta Corp. of Redwood Shores, Calif. CO-OP first invested in the provider of self-service and image solutions in 2006, and the tech firm now holds four patents for its image capture capabilities.

“We were able to apply some gains from the sale of Ensenta stock for shareholder patronage, and at the same time maintain a board seat to influence product development direction for the good of credit unions,” Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP, said. “The transaction was among many milestones for CO-OP that made the past year among the most eventful in the company’s history, all of which contributed to a record patronage and maximum return on value for our shareholders.”

CO-OP is the nation’s largest CUSO in terms of number of credit unions (3,500 institutions) and members (60 million account holders) served. The company manages the industry’s leading consumer brand name via the nationwide, 30,000-strong CO-OP ATM and 5,400-strong CO-OP Shared Branch networks.

CO-OP highlighted the following milestones from the past year:

  • Acquired Covera Solutions, Inc., of Albany, N.Y., a subsidiary of the New York Credit Union Association, which enabled CO-OP to service client credit unions directly.
  • Acquired shares from a subsidiary of FIS, Everlink Payment Services, Inc. of Markham, Ontario, giving CO-OP majority ownership of the payments solutions and services provided to credit unions, banks and ISOs in Canada.
  • CO-OP Shared Branch surpassed Bank of America in number of branch offices, making it the nation’s third largest network of financial institution branches, according to FDIC data.
  • Introduced a suite of application program interfaces enabling credit unions to quickly integrate the latest mobile and online technology directly into their existing channels.
  • Upgraded Member Rewards by CO-OP, adding a more robust merchant funded program that is now offered in multiple versions.
  • Established a new annual record in 2015 by processing 3.2 billion EFT and shared branch transactions by credit union members.
  • The CO-OP Miracle Match program netted $4.3 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, $1 million of which was contributed by CO-OP through fundraising matches. More than 200 credit unions participated in the 2016 program.