GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (3/22/11)--Credit union service organization (CUSO) Xtend, Inc. has implemented new member authentication procedures to bolster privacy protection when members of its 94 credit union partners perform branch transactions. The new procedures employ the data-masking and security-control functionality of the CU*BASE data procession suite from CU*Answers, Inc., which serves as the foundation for the Xtend Shared Branching network. The security upgrade was recommended by the CUSO’s Shared Branching Advisory Council (SBAC), a group made up of representatives from participating credit unions that serves as the governing body for the self-managed network. “The council and Xtend staff utilized a variety of communication channels, including webinars, emails, and meetings, to help prepare credit union staffs for these procedural change, and we believe that the network has taken an important step forward regarding member privacy,” said Chris Cross of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based AAC CI and chair of the SBAC. “Members requesting service at a shared branch now need to know their account number, and since keeping privacy controls in the hands of the home credit union has been the hallmark of our network, each individual credit union in the network can optionally require their members to answer additional out-of-wallet questions before being served at remote locations,” Cross added. The Xtend Shared Branching network now includes more than 200 branch locations in 10 states.