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What to look for in credit union checking

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Investigate shared branching
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Investigate shared branching

"Shared branching makes small credit unions seem infinitely larger because you can get the same service at any member credit union that you do from your regular one," says Bruce McClary, spokesman for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions in Seattle.

Shared branching refers to a network of credit unions nationally that share information so credit union members can have thousands of convenient locations to conduct transactions.

You can use their ATMs without incurring a fee and even make transactions and withdraw cash from ATMs in 7-Eleven stores. A teller in another credit union can pull up your account and help you with your transaction, McClary says.

"This is what's gotten me through a recent move without having to switch credit unions," McClary says.

Not every credit union belongs to shared branching, so be sure to ask if they do. You can also check online at NCUA.gov or CUServiceCenter.com.


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