RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (10/13/11)--Local credit unions of any size are now competing on an equal footing with large national banks offering consumers easy, convenient access to their accounts, according to CO-OP Financial Services. At the same time, credit unions continue to maintain their traditional advantage of offering low loan rates and fewer service fees compared to banks, the company added. “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,” Hollen added. 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 and retail locations, including 5,500 7-Eleven stores, and Costco, Walgreens and other outlets. CO-OP Financial Services also allows members of participating credit unions to access 4,400 physical branch locations throughout the U.S. 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.