Credit Unions Offer Convenience to Go with Low Loan Rates, Fees

CREDIT UNIONS OFFER CONVENIENCE to GO with LOW LOAN RATES, FEES

Nationwide Network of 28,000 ATMs, 4,400 Shared Branches Enable Local Credit Unions to Compete with Big Banks for Easy Access

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (October 12, 2011) – Local credit unions of any size are now competing on an equal footing with large national banks in terms of offering consumers easy, convenient access to their accounts. At the same time, they continue to maintain their traditional advantage of offering low loan rates and fewer service fees compared to banks.

“With banks announcing more fees and tougher fee exemptions, they have partially tried to justify these measures by emphasizing the scope of their ATM and branch networks,” said Stan Hollen, President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. “However, credit unions cooperate with each other in a way banks will not, so credit unions can offer the same level of convenience, along with service that survey after survey confirms is superior to banks in consumer satisfaction.”

CO-OP Network

CO-OP Financial Services manages CO-OP Network, a nationwide network of 28,000 ATMs that allow members of 3,000 participating credit unions to access their accounts without incurring a surcharge. These ATMs are located on credit union premises, as well as a variety of retail locations, including 5,500 7-Eleven stores, as well as Costco, Walgreens and other outlets.

Finding an ATM in CO-OP Network can be done by visiting the ATM locator at:
http://www.co-opfs.org/public/locators/ATMlocator/index.cfm

Consumers can also find a listing of participating credit unions at:
http://www.co-opfs.org/public/locators/culocator/index.cfm

Credit Union Service Centers

CO-OP Financial Services also enables members of participating credit unions to access 4,400 physical branch locations throughout the United States via CO-OP Shared Branching. The shared branching concept is unique to credit unions and allows members to enter any of the 4,400 locations marked with the CU Service Center logo and transact their business as if they were visiting a branch of their own home credit union.

Finding a CO-OP Shared Branching location can be done by visiting the locator at:
http://www.cuservicecenter.com

Consumers can also find a listing of participating credit unions at:
http://www.cuservicecenter.com/CreditUnions.aspx

Low Rates, Fees with Credit Unions

Several banks have announced since Oct. 1 their plans to implement monthly debit card usage fees, as high as $5 per month in the case of Bank of America. Others are not currently planning to create such fees, but they are raising charges on other services. Citibank, for instance, is raising its monthly fee on basic checking accounts from $8 to $10 per month, while establishing more stringent exemption requirements.

On the other hand, consumers save more than $6.7 billion a year in lower fees and better lending rates by using credit unions rather than banks, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. CUNA, which represents nearly 90 percent of the nation’s 7,500 credit unions, estimates that the $6.7 billion total equals an average yearly savings of $75 per person or $142 per family. In addition, 80 percent of credit unions provide free checking, with no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance or activity fees.

Virtually anyone can join a credit union. To find one, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org. To learn more about CO-OP Network and CO-OP Shared Branching, visit http://www.co-opfs.org.

About CO-OP Financial Services

Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., CO-OP Financial Services is the industry leader in access and convenience products for credit unions. With 30 years of credit union service, CO-OP connects credit union members to their accounts through network, payment processing, e-commerce, shared branching and call center services. With more than 3,000 credit union members, 30 million cardholders, 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 4,400 shared branch locations and more than two billion annual transactions, CO-OP Financial Services is the nation’s largest credit union service organization, offering the tools, counsel and leadership to help credit unions prosper. To learn more, visit www.co-opfs.org.

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