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Freedom First
Freedom First Credit Union

Incident Preparedness

Freedom First
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Branded Star Mark

Check in for updates on the developing situation surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

 

March 27, 2020 (2:00 PM)

 We're here for you.
In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and lessen its impact, people have limited their movement and avoided gatherings. While these precautions are necessary, the unfortunate consequence is that many businesses and consumers will suffer financially due to no fault of their own. We hope that you will take comfort in knowing that Freedom First is financially strong, as evidenced by our Five Star “Superior” Rating from Bauer Financial and that we stand ready to help our members through this challenging time.

Effective immediately, Freedom First will:
  • Waive skip-a-pay fee until further notice
  • Waive early withdrawal penalties on share certificates until further notice
  • Defer loan payments on an as-needed basis with minimal documentation
  • Accept mobile check deposits with funds availability in as little as fifteen minutes 24/7/365 (certain restrictions apply)
  • Open new accounts and installment loans through our online and mobile platforms
 
And don't forget that you have 24/7 account access with our mobile app and online banking. Check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, transfer funds, apply for loans, and more-- all without leaving home. Another 24/7 access option is the Telephone Teller AMIE service where you can check balances, account history, transfer funds, and get information on interest paid and dividends received.

Find a surcharge-free ATM near you using the free CULIANCE app, or manage your Freedom First credit and debit cards using the free CardValet® app.

We're also available by phone at 540-389-0244 (local) or 866-389-0244 (toll-free) Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM. Though our branch lobbies are closed, our drive-thru services are open. Members can also call our Contact Center to make an in-person appointment with a banker for certain transactions.

Remember, your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

All the best,
Paul Phillips
President / CEO

March 20, 2020 (4:30 PM)

For the safety of our members, we are closing our branch lobbies. 
I'm writing to update you on how Freedom First is responding to the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as it continues to impact our local area. Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our members and our employees.
 
Starting Monday, March 23rd, 2020, we will be temporarily closing our branch lobbies and serving our members through our drive-thrus, night drops, call center, and electronic channels. Should members require special assistance, they are instructed to contact us to make an appointment.
 
To make an appointment, members are asked to call 540-389-0244 between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday-Friday. We ask that only members make in-person appointments at this time.
 
We also have many remote options for our members to make transactions or communicate with us from wherever they are:
 
  • Call our Contact Center at 540-389-0244 (local) or 866-389-0244 (toll-free)
  • Secure message by using our Support section of the mobile app
  • Use your Freedom First mobile app to make transactions, check your balance, deposit checks, make payments, transfer funds, and more
  • Use our online banking portal
  • Access over 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the CULIANCE ATM network (look for Allpoint, Moneypass, or CULIANCE logos)
  • Turn your Freedom First credit and debit cards on and off, set spending limits, or set location alerts using the free CardValet® app
All of us understand that these are extraordinary times and many people may be hurt financially due to no fault of their own. If you find yourself stressed over your finances, I encourage you to contact us. We will do all we can to help.
 
We will keep you updated as the situation develops in our community and how it will affect our operations. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate our way forward.
 
Sincerely,
Paul Phillips
President / CEO

March 18, 2020 (5:00 PM)

In response to Governor Northam's directive on social distancing in public spaces, please note that our lobbies will be limited to 10 members or less at a given time. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process.
 
Additionally, on March 19th, a number of Freedom First branches will be operating via drive-thru and night drop only as part of a preparedness test. Night drop deposits at these select locations will be processed every 30 minutes between 9 AM - 6 PM in order to minimize delays to our members. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, all branches will be fully operational on Friday, March 20th.
 
Please check the branch closures page for full details and the latest updates. Currently our West End, Downtown, and Towers branch lobbies are still open to the public as usual.
 
You can also still conduct many banking transactions by phone with our Contact Center (540-389-0244 local | 866-389-0244 toll-free) or through online banking and our mobile app.
 

 

March 13, 2020 (2:15 PM)

I am writing to update you on how Freedom First is responding to the growing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID -19). The health and safety of our members and employees are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. We are here to serve you and we want to share information with you about how we continue to operate safely and effectively.

In alignment with the threat assessment protocols of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we have activated our Crisis Management Team as outlined in Freedom First’s Business Continuity Plan. The team is proactively monitoring the situation and we have a Pandemic preparedness plan in place.

We strongly encourage you to use Freedom First’s digital tools and other resources for self-service banking and 24/7 account access. You can access your accounts online or by using the Freedom First Mobile App at your convenience. From there, you can deposit checks, make payments, view transactions, check balances, find an ATM and more. It’s easier and faster (in most cases) to manage your account digitally, especially given wait times may be longer than usual.

We appreciate your understanding that, as a member, your experience may look different as we navigate through this time together. While we are currently maintaining regular operations, our branches are prepared to modify operations with options that still allow us to serve you. This means that as we navigate this dynamic situation branch-by-branch, we may adapt the experience. As a last resort, we will close a branch if we feel it is in the best interest of our members and employees, or if we are directed to do so by government authorities. In any such situation, we expect branch disruption to be temporary.

Our plan outlines specific steps Freedom First takes to safeguard employees’ health and well-being during a pandemic while ensuring the company’s ability to maintain essential operations and continue providing essential services to our members.


Steps we’re taking

  • All work-related travel that is not critical to business has been cancelled until further notice in an effort to avoid exposure to the virus. Employee trainings and large meetings are being conducted by phone or video calls whenever possible.
  • Janitorial services have implemented additional sanitation procedures when cleaning our facilities and equipment.
  • Employees have been encouraged to practice rigorous hygiene routines per CDC and WHO guidelines. This includes additional sanitation of workspaces and branch lobby areas throughout the day.
  • Employees have been encouraged to stay home if they are ill and to notify human resources if they or a household member is diagnosed with influenza or COVID-19.
 

Steps you can take

  • Stay up to date. For more information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or the Virginia Department of Health website.
  • Learn more about our online and mobile banking features, so you can bank from anywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Download our mobile app to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money, and set and receive alerts.
  • Locate branches and ATMs near you, including hours of operation and operational status.
  • Beware of scams. Look out for suspicious email and text messages, medical supply scams, and fraudulent donation sites that may impersonate a company, charity, or government agency. The intent is to convince you to share sensitive information such as usernames and passwords, make purchases or donations on spoof websites, or download malware onto your device by opening a malicious attachment. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, don’t respond, click on any links, or open attachments. Verify the authenticity of any website before making a purchase or donation.

The senior management team and Board of Directors of Freedom First take the COVID-19 threat seriously and we are taking all reasonable measures to prepare for and mitigate the risk. We will provide additional updates as the situation warrants.

If you need assistance with any of our Online or Mobile Banking tools or if you need to conduct additional banking transactions, our Contact Center is ready to assist you at 540-389-0244 (local) or 866-389-0244 (toll-free). Please visit this page (https://www.freedomfirst.com/incident-preparedness) as the situation evolves for the latest updates.

Remember, your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Thank you for your continued support of Freedom First. We wish good health and safety to all our members and families.

Best regards,
Paul Phillips
President / CEO
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