July 2, 2020
Dear Freedom Members,
I wanted to share some very exciting news with you, as soon as I could.
Late last year, Freedom began the process of requesting, with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the governing agency that regulates credit unions, for the ability to expand our field of membership, in order to serve more residents within the state. I am extremely excited to announce to you that the NCUA has approved our request. Effective immediately, in addition to Harford County, Freedom membership is now open to businesses and any individuals who live, work, worship, volunteer, attend school, or have family in Baltimore County.
Your Board of Directors have also unanimously approved this field of membership expansion. With NCUA’s approval, as well as Board approval, we can now provide what we call the “Freedom Advantage”, our unique credit union service offering, to the greater Baltimore County communities. We will be able to better serve a larger group of Maryland consumers and businesses, many of whom we have heard from directly, that have been underserved, and address their immediate and long-term savings and lending needs as only a credit union, like Freedom, can do.
We are excited to roll out our plans for welcoming Baltimore County residents to Freedom and communicating our value proposition. We are working hard to provide the best financial institution and structure we can to serve not only our new communities within Baltimore County, but all of Harford County as well.
Freedom is an organization best qualified to meet the financial service needs of both Harford and Baltimore Counties. We’re financially strong, with full-service, easily accessible locations and a wide range of financial products, services, and accessible, intuitive technology.
We have also put great focus on our social responsibility, supporting those same communities we serve. In fact, we have made it our mission to be a trusted financial partner that does more than just banking, by creating a community support culture of people helping people that meets the needs of our members and the communities we serve. We now have even more opportunity to do good in the community, for even more organizations, businesses, and people across both Baltimore and Harford Counties.
I know this is a big change for us, and you may have some questions as a result of this announcement. I want to take this opportunity to try and answer some of these for you now.
Why did Freedom want to expand its Field of Membership?
Making Freedom membership available to all those who live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in Baltimore County was a logical step in our Credit Union’s evolution. Nearly 3,000 current Freedom members are already Baltimore County residents and were able to join because of some affiliation with Harford County. We have heard directly from so many Baltimore County residents over the years that they wish they could join Freedom. With just a few credit unions and numerous big banks in Baltimore County, credit unions are few and far between, even though they represent a better financial choice for most consumers. And we know Freedom will provide Baltimore County the exact type of financial institution that so many have said they want.
How is this a good thing for current Freedom members?
Because of the way a credit union is structured, as a financial cooperative, the health and strength of the organization is strongly dependent on the membership being engaged and utilizing its products and services. The more members that are an active part of the credit union and using its products and services, the better the ability to offer lower cost loan options, higher deposit rates, better technology and access, and more community support. Our expansion into Baltimore County will allow Freedom to provide our unique financial offerings to more consumers that need them and provide a much needed financial alternative to the big banks. In doing so, we will be able to increase our membership, and the ability to serve all our members, and our shared communities better.
With 32,000 members and growing, Freedom has been a strong financial partner to our members for over 67 years, and we look forward to being an even better partner with this expansion.
Does this mean we are taking away resources to support Harford County?
Absolutely not! Our expansion into Baltimore County does not take anything away from our focus, commitment, and support to the Harford County community. On the contrary, our expansion will afford us greater resources to expand our support of Harford County residents, businesses, and organizations. We are, and have always been, a part of this great community, and will continue to serve it as we always have.
Will you be opening new branches in Baltimore County?
We will look at all our options with respect to new and future physical locations, in both Harford and Baltimore Counties, to best serve our expanded membership. We will also review how we already serve members, regardless of location, by leveraging technology for those who like and want to conduct business electronically and remotely, on their own schedule. One of the biggest lessons we have learned during these past few months is that members are quite adept, and look for, newer technology to serve their banking needs. We will, therefore, consider all options to offer the best balance between physical locations and technology that best serves our membership.
We will continue to share information and details about this exciting news for Freedom Federal Credit Union and its membership, and where we go from here. In the meantime, if you have family, friends, and/or coworkers who live, work, study, volunteer, have family, or worship in Baltimore County, please help us spread the news of who we are, and share with them the Freedom Advantage!
I want to thank all of you for your ongoing trust and confidence in Freedom. It is because of you that we are here, and will continue to be here, for many years to come. Our future is bright, and together, there’s no telling what we can accomplish.
President and CEO
Freedom Federal Credit Union