Elements Financial FCU Leverages CU Centers Shared Branch Network For Increased Member Access

As new member access to branches increase, Elements Financial FCU  incorporates CU Centers Shared Branching Network to add convenience and service.






For 78 years, Elements Financial Federal Credit Union ($1.5 billion; 102,000 members; Indianapolis, IN) was a single sponsor credit union, focusing on serving Eli Lilly & Company’s active employees and retirees. Its branch strategy was to conveniently place its branches in or near its core sponsor group’s plants and offices for staff to easily access. It’s strategy worked well as the credit union grew at a healthy rate.

In 1996, a new wrinkle was introduced. The credit union added spouses of Eli Lilly & Company employees to its membership to accommodate their banking needs. This addition, however, meant its current “secure branch” strategy wouldn’t work. Elements Financial FCU’s secure branches were convenient for employees but not so convenient for spouses. The issue was solved that same year when Elements Financial FCU joined CU Centers’ shared branching network to oblige its new members with access to open branches throughout Indianapolis.

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To continue its growth and also increase its member checking accounts, the credit union expanded its membership once again in 2006 to include Eli Lilly & Company staff family members and in 2008, adding Select Employee Groups (SEGs). The multi-SEG membership expansion proved to be a success for the credit union’s growth strategies, adding more than 1,000 new members from its new SEGs and over $3 million in loans. Elements Financial FCU’s shared branching through CU Centers helped accomplish its goals, ensuring convenient branch access for all its members.

CU Centers network currently consists of more than 5,600 branches nationwide – 259 in Indiana, alone. The 259 branches in Indiana are key because Eli Lilly’s company headquarters is located in Indianapolis with satellite offices and plants located throughout the Hoosier state.

“Along with Indiana, we have members in nearly all 50 states who need branch access as well,” states Connie Brown, Senior Vice President of Administration of Elements Financial Federal Credit Union. “Having shared branching has allowed us to grow our membership along with checking accounts, while adding convenience for members. It’s certainly enhanced the value of our credit union.”

Along with conveniently providing increased accessibility for Elements Financial employee relatives, the credit union leverages CU Centers’ shared branch network (with other delivery channels) to serve its members even when they are not at work. The shared branch network allows the credit union to provide convenient branch access to spouses and family that do not work where there is a branch.

For example Perry says members like the extended hours in evenings and on Saturdays at shared branch outlets. In addition, she says many members are unable to bank the last week of the year between Christmas and New Years because Eli Lilly & Company is closed for the holidays; therefore, the credit union’s branches are closed. But the shared branches are open and available for them during this busy time of the year.

“We love shared branching,” Perry adds. “We don’t know what we would do without it.”

Although Eli Lilly & Company employees have more than 70 percent penetration of direct deposit, they have significant deposit activity through the shared branch network. Listed below are some statistics on Elements Financial FCU’s usage of the network over the last year:

  • Total number of deposits by Elements Financial FCU members at shared branch facilities 59,339.
  • Total amount deposited by Elements Financial FCU members at shared branch facilities $179.7 million.
  • Net Settlement (deposits less withdraws) for shared branch transactions was $149.0 million.
  • Total number of locations used by Elements Financial FCU members = 1,991 branches of 790 different institutions.

Elements Financial FCU members used locations in all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico.

“When we present to a new SEG prospect company or new SEG members, we always pull up our website and search for shared branch locations in areas where the SEG members are located to show them the convenience of shared branch locations,” Perry explains.  “There is much excitement from prospective members and businesses when they see how many locations are close to them.  This has helped us numerous times in signing up new SEGs and members. Shared branching has worked very well for us.”