ATLANTA (5/20/09)--More credit unions have joined shared branching year-to-date than in the same period in 2008, CO-OP Shared Branching said Monday. Between January and April, 43 credit unions were added to the network. Last year, 40 credit unions joined during the same period. Shared branching is integral for credit unions looking to trim expenses, according to Carroll Beach, CO-OP Shared Branching president and chief operating officer. “It’s a much more affordable way for credit unions to be around every corner than building proprietary branches,” he said. About 80% of this year’s new shared-branching participants employ CO-OP’s Next Generation Network technology, which facilitates shared-branching transactions. Through the network, credit unions can offer services such as fast-branch kiosks, remote deposit and mobile banking. CO-OP Financial Services and Credit Union Service Corp. recently joined to form CO-OP Shared Branching, a shared-branching network that services credit unions.