Freedom CEO Appears on WMAR-TV to Share the Difference Between Banks and Credit Unions with Midday Maryland


What is the difference between banks and credit unions? This is a question that comes up often around credit unions. President and CEO of Freedom Federal Credit Union, Mike MacPherson, joined Elsa M. on a recent Midday Maryland segment, produced by WMAR-TV, to explain not just the difference, but the advantage to becoming a credit union member.

In the interview, MacPherson explains the member-owned structure of credit unions and how these not-for-profit organizations deliver the same services as banks with fewer fees and better rates, combined with superior customer service, and a focus on supporting the communities they serve. The members of the credit union are also the owners, not outside shareholders aiming to make a profit. Because of the not-for-profit structure of credit unions, “after we pay the bills, our objective is to put our money back into the community, into the credit union, and to the members”, MacPherson states during the five-minute interview.

MacPherson touches on the history of credit unions in the United States, including their role in helping to maintain financial stability during the 2008 financial crisis. The segment covers the structure of credit unions, how consumers are eligible, and the focus on being the “heart of the community”. “[For Freedom], we believe in giving back…we have a focus on volunteerism, on philanthropy, doing more for our members, and making the community better”, states MacPherson.

How does someone become a member of a credit union? Every credit union has eligibility requirements. For example, Freedom is community chartered, so if you live, work, worship, volunteer or have family in Harford County, Maryland, you are eligible to join. According to MacPherson, all it takes is one dollar, placed in your own savings account, to become a member and have full access to all the services and benefits of credit union membership.

To learn more, watch the full segment above.

‘Twas The Holiday Season

By Mike MacPherson, President and CEO
‘Twas the holiday season two thousand eighteen
And the years been a bit stranger than others we’ve seen.
Turn in any direction and all you see is unrest.
Suggesting the year wasn’t one of the best.

Yet we here at Freedom have been plugging along
Serving our community and still growing strong.
I sat planning in my office snuggled up in a sweater
Racking my brain to try and make things a little bit better.

When suddenly outside I heard such a clatter,
I leapt to my feet to see what was the matter.
I raced from my desk and up to the window
But I spied not at thing up above or below.

Then what, in amazement, should suddenly appear
But a man dressed in red, his face full of fear.
He hung from the roof grasping what appeared to be garland
And he struggled to speak as he grew more disheartened.

He bellowed, “please let me in or else I will fall”
I said, “But these windows are solid. They don’t open at all”.
“Hold on tight”, I exclaimed.  “I’ll come to your aid”
And I flew out the doors on my noble crusade.

I had no ladder, no mattress or cushions
But it was only two stories and there were plenty of bushes
I said. “Drop on down. I’ll guide you to safety”.
A bold statement for sure cuz the man was quite weighty.

I gave him a nod and he smiled with glee
But I misjudged the wind and he landed on me.
For someone so large it didn’t hurt like you’d think
And he popped to his feet with a chuckle and wink.

He laughed, and he jiggled, and I knew right away
That it was Santa himself that squashed me this day.
I said, “Santa, what happened?  Why are you here?”
“And what caused you to dangle from my rooftop this year?”

Santa said, “My controls went crazy with a fizzle and a poof
Then I plummeted through the air and crashed on your roof.
It seems all the bad weather and atmospheric disturbance,
Means my sleigh needs an upgrade with some extra deterrence.”

I said, “Freedom has many members from military and business
That can respond to assist with efficiency and quickness.”
So we reached out to our members and contacts far and wide.
To see who would help out and be by Santa’s side.

When the word went out about poor Santa’s wreck
Help came in droves with the latest materials and tech.
The sleigh was upgraded with Vibranium, trans warp accelerator,
Given a TARDIS infusion then paired with a PU-36 space modulator.

Santa sighed with relief knowing he’d soon be back to his activities
And his sleigh could now handle anything that might stop his deliveries.
Not a surprise since credit unions and members understand
The importance of community and how to lend a helping hand.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Santa said, “for all that you’ve done.
You’ve all been so caring and helpful, each and every one.
You really came through in my time of desperation
And showed that a credit union is not just some faceless corporation.”

When all the work was complete, and the time had drawn near
Santa boarded his sleigh and threw her into gear.
Then we heard him exclaim, as he left a vapor trail in the night,
“Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.”

A Dream Within A Dream

Did you ever have one of those dreams that screws up your mood and has the potential to ruin your whole day? Not a scary dream; those are easy because you wake up and see there is no clown at the foot of your bed holding a chainsaw and an artichoke. You get scared, realize you’re safe and move on. Sure your heart is pounding, but it’s over.  No, I mean the ones where you wake up heart broken, feeling like you got punched in the gut and wishing you could get back into the dream because it was so much better than reality. Those are tougher to shake off because at the core they are more real; conjured by an experience, a thought, something that triggers a memory or unfulfilled desire. There is a part of you that exits in that dream and in real life making the separation of the two more difficult and the options for dealing with it more challenging. When something upsets you, real or imagined, it can be difficult to get past right away until you can isolate the cause and find the right way to respond.

In life, in business, we don’t always have the luxury of reacting the way we want when something troubles us. We have to temper our feelings, maybe even push them aside and measure our response as we try to understand the why so we can cope, move on and accomplish our objectives. I choose to believe most people’s intentions are good and their goal isn’t to upset, but just like we don’t go to bed expecting to have a dream that makes us feel bad, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. We can be unpredictable and unaware sometimes of how our actions or words are perceived. We insinuate or say things that fail to properly clarify our intent and can have multiple interpretations. This can be a result of poor communication skills or an overzealous nature to accomplish a goal. There may be times when an individual need becomes the priority clouding the judgment and closing the ears to different perspectives and needs. Likewise, problems can be the result of our own preconceived ideas or a past experience that we, or someone we know, had. The important thing is to simply recognize these possibilities and realize that each conversation, contact, communication, is a chance to build, or rebuild, relationships and create an environment of mutual respect.

So, before we send an email, have a conversation, or post on social media, we need to consider our intent, ultimate objective and how the message will be received. A daunting task I know, but let me put it into context. When I put together an article like this I start days in advance with an idea. I start writing, trying to convey a thought, but all the way up until I hit “send” I’m editing, changing, rewording, etc. in hopes that the real meaning comes across and not something unintended. I try to craft something impactful, but broad enough to show that the ideas expressed apply to us all from time to time. It may not always work, but as long as the effort is there, I am content.  I’m not saying it should take days to send someone an email or to write out a script before making a call. All I’m saying is be cognizant about the impact your words and their delivery can have. Make sure the why is clear and that all aspects, especially when you’re part of a group with varying backgrounds, are considered with equal weight. This doesn’t mean every decision reached or action taken will be loved by all, but if the communication is clear, if other points of view are considered and if the why is explained, we reduce the potential negativity that can otherwise result and hold us back from reaching our potential.