Check Cashing Deals Expand MembershipOpportunities

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NEW YORK - (10/19/04) -- Two area credit unions are slowlyexpanding their membership and providing members with new outletsthrough a three-year-old pilot program with New York City checkcashing chains, known as PayNet. But several barriers arepreventing Bethex FCU and Actors FCU from greater membership growthand participation, including limited marketing budgets and lack ofstaff training, according to a new study issued Monday by theCenter for Financial Services Innovation. The program allows creditunion members to make withdrawals, deposits and transfers throughpoint-of-banking machines at check cashing outlets operated by RiteCheck Cashing, Pay-O-Matic and several independent check cashers.Bethex FCU added 167 members in 2003, and recorded 127 deposits inJune 2004 through PayNet; while Actors FCU reported more success,919 deposits in June 2004. The PayNet program is currently offeredat 500 New York City outlets. The check cashing chains involved inthe program are currently negotiating with other credit unions tojoin and are exploring expanding the program to otherstates.

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