Banking Reimagined My Foot

December 4, 2020

You know what annoys me?  Commercials.  One in particular gets under my skin.  It’s the commercial for Capital One.  It’s bad enough they talk about having no fees or minimums on checking accounts like they just thought of it or that you can bank on the go with a mobile app like no one else offers that.  No, it was the phrase “banking reimagined”.  You know what banking reimagined is?  A CREDIT UNION!!!

All you need to do is look at our history to know that banks are still banks no matter what kind of pretty package you put it in or spin you put on it.  You still get your best deal, have your best experience, at a credit union and with people like you.

Mike

 

Overcoming 2020 Challenges Together

November 5, 2020

Dear Freedom Members,

Over the years, we promised to uphold our core value of people helping people by focusing on creating a memorable experience for members, employees and the community we serve.  Year after year we stayed true to this philosophy as it drove achievements and stability.  Now as we near the end of the year, that strategic focus has proven vital in successfully navigating in 2020.

In recent years, we worked on our infrastructure and improving various processes, products, delivery channels, etc.  We put greater effort into expanding and enhancing call center capabilities and online services and refined every avenue to allow you to conduct business virtually to provide the options and convenience that would create a better experience.  As it turned out, these efforts were also the key in adapting to the “contactless” world thrust upon us by an unexpected pandemic.  Before times had changed, we were already preparing for you to have the ability to conduct business without leaving your home.

As a result, and despite the situation, we never shut down, we never stopped serving.  Yes, we had to keep our distance, we had to modify some operational aspects for everyone’s safety, but, like always, we were here, we heard you and we responded.  We responded not just to the normal business of the day, but to those of you who needed extra help created by the impact of the virus on our lives and economy.

We helped 95 businesses by providing more than $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans.  We processed over 1,400 payment deferral requests on loans and mortgages.  We provided lunches and PPE supplies to first responders and over 25 Harford County organizations and, even though some plans and events were cancelled, Freedom maintained our financial support of each organization as originally committed.

Of course, you, our members, were also key to our ability to successfully adapt to this crisis.  Every step of the way you have been resilient, understanding, supportive and more.  You demonstrated the most important part of a cooperative; that we achieve more together when we work towards a common purpose.  We are grateful for you and we appreciate you.

Finally, I cannot be more proud and appreciative of all the employees of Freedom, especially those who are on the front lines, who come in every day, and work tirelessly to ensure they provide the hands-on service you have come to expect.

Freedom will continue to earn your trust by holding to the values we established over 67 years. Our name is built by living up to our vision and mission. Our name is synonymous with respect, compassion, service, integrity, trust, and safety. Our name reflects all of the good and dedicated people that help and serve. Our name is Freedom and Freedom will continue to care for our community, one member at a time.

Sincerely,

CEO Signature

Michael MacPherson
President and CEO
Freedom Federal Credit Union

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I woke up thinking about the following phrase, “for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” I don’t know why, but it was stuck in my head. I hadn’t heard it or seen it, it was just there. I knew it was one a line from a larger piece so I did my research and came upon a meditation written by an English poet, John Donne, in 1642. The mediation went as follows:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The meaning, simply put, is that we are all connected and whatever affects one affects us all. The phrase ‘no man is an island’ expresses the idea that human beings do badly when isolated from others and need to be part of a community in order to thrive. As I read this I realized how relevant this is to the credit union movement. Our driving purpose of “people helping people” hinges on the idea that we’re all in this together and have a responsibility to be a reliable partner to our members and community. Take the shutdown for example. Maybe it didn’t affect you directly, but the ripple effect (on members, companies, services, etc.) could. We, therefore, offer assistance to those in need, not only for the individual, but for the membership as a whole and because it’s just the right thing to do. Credit Unions are a cooperative and while we focus on promoting thrift, providing credit at reasonable rates, and providing other financial services, we are also ‘involved in mankind’. We recognize the relationship between what we do, who we are and who we serve, and place a priority on strengthening the bonds of community for a greater good.

Mike