MADISON, Wis. (2/6/08)--Two California-based financial transaction technology firms have joined the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) as associate members, bringing to eight the number of organizations that function as non-voting associate members of the international credit union trade association. The new associate members include: CO-OP Financial Services, the parent company to CO-OP Shared Branching, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; and Financial Service Centers Cooperative (FSCC), based in San Dimas, Calif. Both firms were unanimously approved for membership at WOCCU's board of directors meeting in Naples, Fla. Associate members receive all the benefits of WOCCU membership, including seats at the annual general meeting. However, they may not vote for members of the WOCCU board or serve on the board. CO-OP Financial Services is a credit union service organization (CUSO) that provides card services, ATM network services and shared branching for about 2,000 credit unions in the U.S. The 25-year-old CUSO, owned and controlled by credit unions, has more than 25,000 ATMs in 10 countries. CO-OP Shared Branching, headquartered in Duluth, Ga., offers shared branching for 80% of participating credit unions and 67% of all shared-branching locations. “We've supported the World Council of Credit Unions for many years,” said Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. “In fact, we recently worked together to complete the first true international shared branch transaction in Ecuador using our Next Generation Network. Becoming an associate member not only expands our relationship with WOCCU, but it furthers the credit union movement on a more global scale.” Financial Service Centers Cooperative, an 18-year-old CUSO, provides shared branching services at more than 5,000 locations in the U.S. and five countries. FSCC's technology has enabled it to offer 24/7 shared branch access at more than 2,000 7-Eleven stores, said Sarah Canepa Bang, FSCC president/CEO. “FSCC has maintained international branches for more than six years," said Bang. “We've long used WOCCU resources and thought it was time to pay the organization back and support its good work by becoming more involved.” The two new associate memberships signal growing support for WOCCU's mission, and indicate the increasing importance technology plays in serving emerging credit union movements, according to Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “Both organizations provide U.S. credit unions with electronic transaction services vital to their members' success, and we'll look for synergies that will enable them to help more credit unions worldwide,” Crear said. Other WOCCU associate members include: the National Federation of Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies Ltd. (India); Cooperative Savings and Credit Union Mutual Insurance Society (Poland); CUNA Mutual Group (U.S.); the International Cooperative Banking Association; the International Cooperative & Mutual Insurance Federation; and the International Raiffeisen Union.