RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — CO-OP Financial Services is significantly expanding its PIN POS presence with a new partnership with First Data's STAR Network.

The move will give cardholders of CO-OP CUs access to nearly two-million STAR Network point-of-sale locations nationally. CO-OP expects to implement the extended PIN POS service with existing clients starting Oct. 15.

"This is an important event for the credit union movement," said CO-OP CEO Stan Hollen. "First Data is the premier merchant terminal processor in the world, having the majority of merchant terminals in the U.S. One of the hallmarks of this partnership is that we will offer very competitive interchange, basically the same as Star."

Creating a large, credit-union-owned PIN POS network is critical post Durbin, given the expectations that PIN networks will eventually give in to merchant pressure and begin to drop debit interchange, according to Hollen. "The timing for this network is right for the credit union community," said Hollen, adding also that increased access is something consumers fleeing banks will demand of credit unions.

Hollen pointed out the new POS revenue benefits all participating CO-OP members and that CO-OP shareholding credit unions will also increase the annual patronage dividend opportunity.

The partnership follows other moves by CO-OP this year—acquiring FSCC, and forming a strategic partnership with the Des Moines, Iowa-based The Members Group.

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