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Alicia made a resolution not to accumulate a lot of debt, but when a lack of credit history meant she couldn’t obtain a traditional auto loan, she realized that the Responsible Rides® program could be the solution for her. Alicia had very specific needs for her vehicle – she not only wanted to make sure her father and sister would feel comfortable riding in it, but she also needed to make sure it had enough space to store her sister’s walker and be easily accessible.
It may seem like joining a credit union is the same as opening an account at a bank, but that’s not true. The biggest difference between a bank and a credit union is profits. Banks focus on building profits for their investors, while not-for-profit credit unions invest that money in you. Here are a few perks you get as a credit union member with Freedom First.
Freedom First has done the hard work to make sure our products and services are on par with the finest institutions. But what does Freedom First offer that no one else does? We’ve been locally headquartered and operated since 1956 — we live here, we understand our community, and we have a vested interest in our region. We’re not going anywhere; in fact, we’re continuing to grow, which in turn enables us to deploy capital back into our community.
Responsible Rides is an award-winning auto buying program for low- to moderate-income earners that also includes educational classes on finances and budgeting, as well as car maintenance and care. This program works closely with a network of local nonprofit partners to reach community members: Total Action for Progress (TAP), New River Community Action, Support to Eliminate Poverty (STEP, Inc.), and local area car dealers and mechanics.
Our full-time, in-house coordinator streamlines the lending process for borrowers, coordinates vehicle maintenance classes, and travels regularly to meet with residents across our region.
Freedom First’s robust Business Banking and Commercial Lending departments worked hard with local developers, business owners, and entrepreneurs to breathe new life into our region through commercial redevelopment of existing properties, often preserving and honoring the buildings’ historical significance to the surrounding community.
Freedom First’s Affordable Housing Program is managed by a Virginia Housing Development Authority-certified Mortgage Loan Officer who works with members for months or years to achieve the goal of home ownership through smart finance management, down payment assistance, home ownership counseling, and nonconforming mortgage loan products. These home loans undergo custom underwriting, sometimes using alternative proof of credit, to ensure that the borrower can safely afford their home and have the opportunity to build wealth through home equity.
The City of Roanoke has contracted Freedom First to act as the financial counseling provider of Roanoke’s Financial Empowerment Center, the first of its kind in Virginia. Financial Empowerment Centers offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a no-cost public service to enable residents to address their financial challenges and needs and plan for their futures.