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

I Think Therefore I Am

July 17, 2020

I think thinking is good.  I think about thinking a lot; especially these days because there is so much more to think about.  I think we even think about things we never thought about before and think about what we’re going to need to think about in the future.  You think more about where to go, how to go, the known and unknown.  You think more about family and friends.  You may think more about strangers and what they’re thinking.  You may even think about how much thinking people are not doing these days.  You think about how they act rather than think because thinking takes too much effort.  I must say, however, I think there is some non-thinking that is actually good.

When you think about it, our brains are a marvelous thinking machine and I find myself thinking about how much thinking my thinking machine can take.  Which is why, I think, it’s good to take some time not to think, but not in the way most people aren’t thinking these days.  For example, if I go to the beach I see lots of people reading books or scrolling on phones and tablets.  Not me.  I took a book once and read only three chapters in a week.  I took a comic book for the entertainment value and minimal time it took.  Mostly though, I just sit and stare off.  Perhaps play some music, but it’s just background.  I sit and think of nothing.  I take in the wind and sounds and visual rhythms that pass before me, but I don’t think about them; they just are.  As I think about it now, I realize when I don’t think, sometimes I think the best. When you tune out the all the thoughts that constantly plague your mind, when you take a few moments to clear your head, it’s like a reboot to your entire system and when you tune back in, there are amazing ideas, a greater appreciation of things and a renewed focus on what needs to be done.

Of course, you don’t need to be on a beach.  You can do it anywhere.  Sometimes I take a few moments to get up from my desk and look out the window.  You just need to make time, for a few brief moments, at home, in your car, walking a trail, anywhere, to let it all go, breath deep, and don’t think.

Thinking is good, thinking is necessary most of the time, but not thinking for even just a little bit here and there, is a really good thing too.   I think.

 

Mike

Freedom Expands Field of Membership- CEO Letter

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.

Sincerely,

CEO Signature

Michael MacPherson
President and CEO
Freedom Federal Credit Union