#FreedomToHelpChallenge 2021

 

#FreedomToHelpChallenge

Win $1,000 for your favorite local charity!

Freedom Federal Credit Union believes in people helping people and we are challenging Harford and Baltimore County volunteers, companies, and non-profits to participate in the award-winning 4th annual #FreedomToHelpChallenge photo contest this holiday season. Showcase volunteerism in Harford or Baltimore County for the chance to win a $1,000 charitable donation for your local non-profit of choice and other weekly prizes.

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Like or Follow Freedom Federal Credit Union on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

2. Post public photos showcasing volunteerism in Harford or Baltimore County from November 1st through December 9th, 2021

3. Include a description of the volunteer effort along with the searchable hashtag, #FreedomToHelpChallenge on every post

4. Visit us on Facebook every Friday to participate in public voting to increase your chances to win! (Every like equals a vote!)

On Instagram? Tag Freedom @FreedomFedCU or DM us to follow you if your account is private.

IN 2021, The #FreedomToHelpChallenge was recognized by THE MARKETING ASSOCIATION OF CREDIT UNIONS WITH THEIR TOP CAMPAIGN AWARD AND RECEIVED A TRAILBLAZER AWARD IN SOCIAL MEDIA BY THE MD|DC CREDIT UNION ASSOCIATION.  THE CHALLENGE IS ALSO A PAST RECIPIENT OF The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award by THE CREDIT UNION NATIONAL ASSOCIATION.

 

Read Full Contest Rules and Details Here.

Grand Prize Info: The Final Showdown

Public Voting for finalists will be available on Freedom’s Facebook page on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 10:00 am for 24 hours from the start of the voting period. Every like equals a vote. Share with your friends to increase your votes. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced via Freedom’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page on or before December 16th, 2021.  The Grand Prize is a $1,000 charitable donation.*

*Selected charity must be a registered 501(C)3 with a proven focus in Harford or Baltimore County.

Mortgage Payment Scams

Scam AlertThe Mortgage Payment Scam has been around a long time. Mortgages are recorded in the local county courthouse and are therefore public information.  It is just as easy for a criminal to get a hold of this information as anyone else, so be mindful of any solicitations you get in the mail regarding your property.

How does it work?

A member may receive a letter from a company other than their known mortgage company indicating that they purchased their Freedom mortgage and future payments are to be make to them, not us.  This is the entire SCAM.  Freedom does not sell the servicing of our mortgages to anyone.  If you receive such a letter, please disregard and report it back to us.

How can I protect myself from this type of scam?

Do:

  • Be wary of any solicitations demanding immediate payment or warning that you are late on a payment that is not from your known mortgage provider.
  • Call your mortgage provider to confirm that there have been no changes to your loan servicing agreement.
  • Report the letter to your credit union.
  • Use the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s online portal to file a mortgage-related complaint
  • Report any suspected scams to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Don’t let those crooks walk free!

 Don’t:

  • Make a payment to anyone who is not your known mortgage lender without verified proof from your original lender.
  • Share any personal information with an unverified contact. If it’s personal info, make sure to keep it that way!
  • Click on links or download files from an unfamiliar email address.

Stay safe!

Freedom keeps all loans, including mortgages, in house for the duration of the loan term.  Your loans will not be sold to any other management company.  If you receive something suspicious via text, email, or mail, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are unsure.  

Your Turn: Have you encountered a scam like this before? Tell us about it on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.

 

All You Need to Know About Home Equity Loans

Home Equity LoansAs you pay down your first mortgage or the value of your home increases, you develop equity. When you have equity built up in your home, borrowing against it with a home equity loan is a great way to tap into the money when you need it most. Many people take out a home equity loan to finance home improvements, pay for their child’s college education, cover unforeseen medical costs, and many other purposes. Here’s all you need to know about home equity loans.

What is a home equity loan? 

A home equity loan (HEL), or second mortgage, is a secured loan that allows homeowners to borrow against the equity in their home. The loan amount is based on the difference between the home’s current market value and the homeowner’s outstanding mortgage balance. Home equity loans tend to be fixed-rate, while the typical alternative, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), generally have variable rates and allow the borrower to withdraw funds as needed.

How is a home equity loan amount determined?  

Your primary mortgage is the amount you borrowed when you first purchased your home. Over time, as you pay down the loan and/or the value of your residence increases, so does your equity. You can take a home equity loan out against the equity you have built up in your home, essentially borrowing against your home’s value minus what you still owe on your mortgage. It’s important to note that a home equity loan is a second loan against your home. You’ll still need to pay your primary mortgage along with new payments for your home equity loan.

A lender will typically want you to have at least an 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio once your home equity loan has been approved.

Interest rates on home equity loans 

Home equity loans typically have a fixed interest rate, making budgeting for the payments easy. The lender provides a lump sum payment to the borrower, which is then repaid over the life of the loan, along with a set interest rate. Both the monthly payment and interest rate will remain the same over the entire loan term, which can last anywhere from 5 to 30 years. If the borrower sells the home before the loan term is matured, the loan must then be repaid in full.

A home equity loan can be a great choice for a borrower with a one-time or straightforward cash need such as a home addition, large medical expenses, debt consolidation, or a wedding.

Are there any costs associated with home equity loans?

As with mortgage loans, there are closing costs associated with home equity loans. Closing costs refer to any fees incurred when originating, writing, closing, or recording a loan. These fees include application, appraisal, title search, attorney fees, and points. Some lenders may advertise no-fee home equity loans which require no cash at closing, but these will usually have other associated costs or a higher interest rate which can easily offset any gains.

What are the pros and cons of a home equity loan?

There are several advantages to taking out a home equity loan to fund a home improvement project or a large expense:

  • The amount of interest paid toward a home equity loan may be tax-deductible.
  • Interest rates on HELs are generally lower than those provided by credit cards or unsecured loans.

Home equity loans do have some disadvantages as well:

  • Using your home as collateral for the loan means risking foreclosure and the loss of your home if you default on the loan.
  • If your home value declines over the term of the loan, you may end up owing more than your home is worth.
  • You’ll need to pay closing costs and other fees when you take out a home equity loan.
  • You may qualify to borrow more than you actually need and ultimately end up using more than planned, which of course you’ll need to repay.

The hot real estate market has led to a boom in popularity for home equity loans. However, it’s important to weigh all factors carefully before determining if a home equity loan is best for your specific needs.

Freedom has Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit available.  Visit freedomfcu.org/personal/home-loans/ for more details. 

Your Turn: Do you have questions or advice about home equity loans?  Talk to us on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter, or Instagram @FreedomFedCU.

 

The Best Day Is Today

August 27, 2021

A couple things got me thinking recently. First, here we are already closing in on the end of summer; that got me thinking about how time flies and its effect on waiting. Then, as we’ve planned our expansion and questioned why we are, or should we be, doing so in the current climate; that too got me thinking and what waiting would have meant. The results of my pondering led me to the following poem:

(with thanks to Andrew Pratt)

Barely the day started and… it’s already six in the evening.
Barely arrived on Monday and it’s already Friday…
… and the month is already over.
… and the year is almost over.
… and already 40, 50 or 60 years of our lives have passed.
… and we realize that we lost our parents, friends.
… and we realize it’s too late to go back.
So… Let’s try, despite everything, to enjoy the remaining time.
Let’s keep looking for activities that we like.
Let’s put some color in our grey.
Let’s smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts.
And despite everything, we must continue to enjoy with serenity this time we have left.
Let’s try to eliminate the afters…
… I’m doing it after…
… I’ll say after…
… I’ll think about it after.
We leave everything for later like “after” is ours.
Because what we don’t understand is that…
… afterwards, the coffee gets cold…
… afterwards, priorities change…
… afterwards, the charm is broken…
… afterwards, health passes…
… afterwards, the kids grow up…
… afterwards parents get old…
… afterwards, promises are forgotten…
… afterwards, the day becomes the night…
… afterwards life ends…
And then it’s often too late.
So, let’s leave nothing for later,
Because still waiting to see you later, we can lose the best moments,
the best experiences,
best friends,
the best family.
The day is today… The moment is now…

Mike

Freedom Opens New Branch in Perry Hall

The New Location in Honeygo Village Center Officially Opened on August 21

Freedom Federal Credit Union opened a new full-service branch in the Perry Hall/White Marsh area on Saturday, August 21.  The Credit Union marked the occasion with a community-wide grand opening celebration.  The event was held at its new location, 5000 Honeygo Center Drive in the Honeygo Village Center, and featured music, food, games, and giveaways.  This is the Credit Union’s first branch in Baltimore County, and sixth branch in Northeastern Maryland.

The branch features a full-service lobby, two drive-thru lanes, a 24/7 ATM, a free coin machine, provides ample parking, and allows for easy traffic flow and access. Financial Service Representatives are in-person, and onsite, to support all business and individual banking needs.

Earlier that week, Freedom held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, where their Leadership Team gathered with the Board of Directors, employees, local and state officials, representatives from Harford and Baltimore County Public Schools, and members of the MD|DC Credit Union Association to celebrate the Credit Union’s expansion.

Attendees heard from Freedom’s President and CEO, Mike MacPherson, along with remarks from Lynn Richardson, President of the Perry Hall/White Marsh Business Association and Councilman David Marks, 5th District, Baltimore City Council, and Delegate Carl Jackson, District 8, House of Delegates.

“The opening of this new branch here in Honeygo Village Center is part of our commitment to grow our organization, and, as a result, to expand the many ways we have to serve this community, and our membership as a whole, as best we can,” stated Macpherson to the crowd. “We will grow, not to have the biggest bottom line but to be able to offer our members a quality financial experience with their best interests always top of mind.”

John Bratsakis, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Maryland and DC Credit Union Association, was also in attendance and shared some remarks on how the Credit Union Difference, and Freedom, will have a positive impact on consumers and businesses in the Perry Hall and White Marsh Community.

As a symbol of Freedom’s commitment to improving the Baltimore County community, MacPherson presented a donation on behalf of the Credit Union to The Education Foundation of Baltimore County’s Executive Director, Deborah Phelps.

Freedom Federal Credit Union was founded in 1953 as MATCOM Federal Credit Union. The Credit Union started in Baltimore and later moved to Harford County in support of the Edgewood Arsenal, which became part of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Freedom received their Harford County community charter in 1999 and changed their name to Freedom of Maryland Federal Credit Union in 2000. In 2020, Freedom’s charter was expanded to also serve those who live, work, worship, volunteer, or have family in Baltimore County.

Freedom to Host Grand Opening Celebration Saturday August 21

Freedom Federal Credit Union will be opening a new full-service branch in the Perry Hall/White Marsh area on Saturday, August 21.  The Credit Union will mark the occasion with a community-wide grand opening celebration.  This is the Credit Union’s first branch in Baltimore County, and sixth branch within Northeastern Maryland.  The new branch will be located at 5000 Honeygo Center Drive in the Honeygo Village Center, adjacent to Weis Markets, and across from AnyTime Fitness, and Liberatore’s Ristorante.

The branch will feature a full-service lobby, two drive-thru lanes, a 24/7 ATM, a free coin machine, and will provide ample parking and easy traffic flow and access. Financial Service Representatives will be in-person, and onsite, to support all business and individual banking needs.

Marcus JohnsonFreedom is pleased to announce the appointment of Marcus Johnson, as the location’s Branch Manager.  Johnson has been a Freedom team member for almost ten years, most recently serving as Branch Manager at the Swan Creek location in Havre de Grace since 2017. Johnson has earned a reputation for his warm welcomes and reliable expertise.

Johnson is looking forward to this next chapter and becoming deeply involved in the Perry Hall/White March community. He brings with him from the existing Freedom team, Senior Financial Services Representative, Alexis Wyatt, who was previously a Senior Financial Services Representative at the Swan Creek Branch.

Freedom Federal Credit Union was founded in 1953 as MATCOM Federal Credit Union. The Credit Union started in Baltimore and later moved to Harford County in support of the Edgewood Arsenal, which became part of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Freedom received their Harford County community charter in 1999 and changed their name to Freedom of Maryland Federal Credit Union in 2000. In 2020, Freedom’s charter was expanded to also serve those who live, work, worship, volunteer, or have family in Baltimore County.

Local community members are encouraged to join the Credit Union on Saturday August 21st, to learn more about Freedom, take advantage of special in-person only offers, and to celebrate the new branch opening.  The grand opening celebration will feature music, food, giveaways, and family-friendly fun.

Why Your Kids Should Have A Youth Account

Ellie Lott

Ellie Lott
Guest Blogger
youngandtheinvested.com

“Ellie is passionate about millennial financial planning and uses her website to help educate her generation on making smart decisions with their money.”

Why your kids should have a youth account
Children are rarely too young to be taught financial education. A study conducted at the University of Michigan Center for Human Growth and Development indicated that children as young as five have already developed emotional reactions to saving and spending money.

One of the roles of parents/guardians in their kids’ lives is to protect and nurture them into independent and responsible members of society. While living with the young ones may be fun, one day they will inevitably have to leave home to fend for themselves. Often, financial independence is an indicator of whether they are ready to sustain themselves. Opening a youth account is a great way to kick-start your kids on the path to financial success.

What is a Youth Account?

The US law prohibits minors from opening a bank account. However, this should not prevent them from having a savings account. A youth account is a savings account that is under the minor’s name with a custodian as joint on the account. In most cases, the adult manages the account until the minor turns eighteen, although the age may vary depending on the financial institution. The adult plays a supervisory role and may impose certain controls such as setting a withdrawal limit to ensure it is well-managed.

Benefits of a Youth Account

Besides the obvious reason which is to gain interest in their savings, here is why you should encourage your kids to open a youth account and develop healthy financial habits.

1. They learn financial literacy

Financial management is an essential life skill that is not taught conventionally in a classroom. Since not everyone grows up in a family where money matters are taught, when teens have their own money in their accounts, they are likely to learn a lot about managing their finances. From the basics of how to set financial goals and budgeting to the more complex issues of how to manage debt. Having a youth account goes a long way in enabling kids, teens, and young adults to take full control of their financial future and possibly pass on the acquired knowledge to friends or family in the future.

2. Cultivates responsibility

A savings account enables kids to keep track of their contributions, savings as well as withdrawals. This teaches them, from a tender age, the correlation between choices and consequences. The more they save, the faster they can achieve their financial goal. This is not attainable without regularly contributing to the account and resisting the urge to spend.

3. Teaches them the value of investing

As a kid, grasping the concept of interest may be difficult. However, a youth account simplifies it by practically showing kids how their savings increase over time. It teaches them practically how saving not only safeguards their money but can also earn them more money. As their savings increase, so does the interest earned. Since most accounts can be accessed digitally, they can notice any interest earned on their savings, however small it may be.

4. Develops their banking relationship

Developing a relationship with financial professionals is another great bonus. For starters, your kids can better utilize the services offered in financial institutions. Credit unions offer many other services besides savings and checking accounts. They offer services like budgeting basics, debt consolidation services, and ultimately the best stock picking services for the long term.

Having a financial specialist could go a long way in ensuring children achieve their financial goals. In developing a one-on-one relationship with the credit union, they may appropriately analyze your child’s spending and saving habits and offer advice. They can assist the child beyond verifying his/her deposit and in this way, he/she becomes more than just an account number.

5. Teaches compassion and perspective

In some ways, a youth account can help kids understand how financial resources are tied to what people have and don’t have. Through this, they can start to form a bigger picture about life and how some people are more or less fortunate than others.

Additionally, the simple act of saving, watching their money grow, and using their money to buy what they need teaches them that to purchase things in the future, one needs to budget and save. It also enables them to understand that as a family, certain sacrifices need to be made to meet certain financial obligations.

6. Prepares them to be financially independent

As kids grow up, they often express a desire to handle bigger responsibilities. What better way to ensure they do this by helping them open a youth account? In opening one, they are entrusted with the responsibility of managing their funds. There is no more begging or pleading for money, what they save is what they get. Having the ability to budget, reference previous spending, and curb their enthusiasm to overspend their money prepares them to be financially independent adults.

Closing thoughts

There is no right time for kids to open an account, but given life’s unpredictable nature, having a youth account would secure your child’s financial future and teach them at the same time.

If you’re ready to open a youth account, visit Freedom’s Youth Account Webpage to learn about their tiered options and other youth financial products.  Depending on your employer, you may also qualify for a $25 youth match. Ask by calling 800-440-4120 or email [email protected].

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom Federal Credit Union is proud to be your financial partner. Freedom serves and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, or has family in Harford or Baltimore County, MD. As a credit union, we are committed to putting you first, not shareholders, and helping you achieve your financial goals.

Learn more at freedomfcu.org/personal/youth-accounts or call us 800-440-4120 to see how we can help. 

New Freedom Federal Credit Union Branch Coming to Baltimore County – CEO Letter

May 3, 2021

Dear Freedom Members,

In July of last year, I wrote to you announcing that Freedom Federal Credit Union was expanding our field of membership to include Baltimore County. Over the last several months, that expansion has gone very well and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

In that announcement, I also made mention that we would look at opportunities to enhance access for our members, whether through technology or new, physical locations.

As a result of this, and through a comprehensive review, I am very happy to announce that Freedom will be opening a new branch in Baltimore County, in the Perry Hall/White Marsh area.
The new branch will be located at 5000 Honeygo Center Drive in the Honeygo Village Center, adjacent to Weis Markets, and across from AnyTime Fitness, and Liberatore’s Ristorante. This will be Freedom’s first branch in Baltimore County, and our sixth branch in total.

Our Honeygo Branch will feature a full-service lobby, two drive-thru lanes, a 24/7 ATM, a free coin machine, and will provide ample parking and easy traffic flow and access. Financial Service Representatives will be in-person, and onsite, to support all business and individual banking needs.

This is a significant step for our entire membership. Not only does it ensure that we provide a physical location to a thriving business and residential community that wants to do their banking in-person, but also provides us more ability to truly deliver on the Freedom Advantage, our unique service offering, to the Northeast Baltimore County communities.

Because of the way Freedom is structured, as a financial cooperative, the health and strength of the organization is dependent on the membership being engaged and utilizing our products and services. The more members that are an active part of Freedom, and using our products and services, the better the ability to offer lower cost loan options, higher deposit rates, better technology and more community support. We will be able to increase our membership, and better serve all our members, in both Harford and Baltimore County.

This past year has been a challenge for all of us. For Freedom, although much of it was focused on helping members through the pandemic, we decided to proceed with our planned expansion into Baltimore County, to give our members, and the communities we serve, more opportunities to conduct business, in the name of convenience and a better banking experience.

The Honeygo Branch, which formerly housed First National Bank, is currently undergoing renovations, and is expected to open to the public in late summer. I will share more details with you when plans are more formalized. In the meantime, please follow us on our Facebook page to see progress updates, and the latest information around the branch opening.

I want to thank all of you for your ongoing trust and confidence in Freedom, and I hope you share in my excitement regarding our new branch. I look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

CEO Signature

Michael MacPherson
President and CEO
Freedom Federal Credit Union