In an effort to provide greater branch accessibility for its members, Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union ($355 million; 21,489 members; Chicago, IL) has signed with shared branching vendor Credit Union Centers to use its shared network of over 4,300 branches nationwide – more than 275 in Indiana and Illinois combined. Chicago Patrolmen’s FCU went live on the network on August 15, 2011.

According to Chicago Patrolmen’s COO, Jim Bedinger, three reasons prompted the credit union to research the possibility of using shared branching to better serve its members. First, there were pockets within the city that warranted building branches because of the density of members. Other areas, however, didn’t require it but needed some presence for those members’ convenience.

Second, a pending charter expansion will allow the credit union to serve other police departments in suburban Chicago, but building and maintaining costly branches in those areas weren’t in the budget. And third, retired police officers often flock to Florida and other southern “snowbird” states to escape the cold Chicago winters. They need to have access to their accounts from those “out of the area” locations. Shared branching was the answer for all three reasons.

“It was especially challenging serving our retiree members because they could not get to a physical branch if they left the immediate area,” Bedinger says. “Our most popular transaction is a deposit and some of our members do not trust making a deposit into an ATM. They want an actual person in a branch handing them a receipt. So we see shared branching solving this issue.”

Ultimately, joining Credit Union Centers shared branch network allows Chicago Patrolmen’s FCU to better serve it members by enhancing convenience, using surcharge-free ATMs, and passing on the cost savings in the form of lower rates – all of which makes it easier to retain members and grow organically within the Chicagoland area.

“The big thing is that our retiree members aren’t left out anymore,” Bedinger says. “Now they can physically manage their accounts from virtually anywhere – especially when they head south for the winter.”

“Expanding their branch total from four to more than 4,300 is a big statement,” states Dan Davis, EVP/CFO of CU Centers. “This statement says a lot to Chicago Patrolmen’s FCU members, letting them know that the credit union is looking out for them by providing greater convenience and accessibility without incurring huge costs to build and manage branches. It’s a smart move – one that will allow the credit union to fulfill its goal of growing while maintaining costs.”

About Credit Union Centers
Credit Union Centers shared branching network offers access to more than 4,300 credit union shared branch locations nationwide – more than 275 in Indiana and Illinois combined. For more information about shared branching, visit