I want to tell you and, in turn, have you tell others, just how amazing it is to be part of Freedom. The numbers show we’re part of a strong financial institution headed in the right direction, but the thing everyone needs to know is that Freedom is living the credit union philosophy. We realize providing access to the financial products and services people need or want is essential; we realize providing those products and services at the most reasonable rates and fees is an obligation; and we realize ensuring convenient access with branches, over the phone or through online and mobile banking is a priority. Beyond that, however, is that our commitment to people helping people; to fair and honest transactions, to integrity and trustworthiness, and a pledge to do what is right by our employees, our members and our community is the true lifeblood of Freedom. When we put people first, Freedom thrives. Our strategic focus of member and employee experience has helped drive the financial strength of Freedom.
When we promote Freedom we use words like trust, partner, member-first financial solutions and others like them, to share our story because one of our biggest challenges is awareness. Despite all the marketing, commercials, community involvement, word of mouth, people still don’t understand the Freedom difference, the benefit of banking at Freedom. They don’t know that we do mortgage or commercial lending, they don’t realize we have the same technologies and accessibility as a large national bank. They don’t realize that too big to fail often means too big to care for people as individuals, to hear their story and do the best to help them achieve their goals. When I think about this, I remember that Mr. Rogers quote I sent before about the helpers which I think applies here. There are a lot of scary things; people focused on me rather than we and financial institutions or businesses putting self-interest before people’s well-being. That’s why at Freedom, we strive to be one of the helpers. We make it our mission to help by providing quality, affordable, cutting edge services and products for our members and being a partner in the community. Whether its planning for retirement, setting a budget, buying a first home or new car, helping with medical or education expenses, taking a well-deserved vacation, or supporting a myriad of philanthropic and charitable endeavors to make our community better and improve the lives of our neighbors, the theme of the annual meeting “Your story starts with Freedom” says it best.
Carry that message from here, because when you share your experience, and as more members join and benefit from all we have to offer, the more we can and will continue to evolve, thrive and grow. Just as our members’ story starts with Freedom, our story endures because of them.