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Freedom First Federal Credit Union Wins First Place in Desjardins Adult Award

Feb 24, 2014 by Bethany Scott

Freedom First Federal Credit Union won a 1st Place Award in the state-level Desjardins Adult Financial Education program. The Desjardins Award, sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union League and the Credit Union National Association, honors credit unions for their commitment to teaching personal finance basics in local communities.

The credit union's award-winning entry spotlighted its partnership in the Money Mondays program, a customizable, comprehensive financial education curriculum to help individuals, households, schools, businesses and non-profit agencies reach their financial goals.

Clients of the program include families unsure how to free up home equity to pay medical bills, young people aging out of the foster care program who want to make the most of their first job, and schools and non-profit agencies that want to offer financial education to those they serve. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2013, the credit union taught 132 free financial education classes to 1,668 individuals, including 1,156 adults.

"Our credit union is committed to providing financial education resources to our community," says Freedom First President/CEO Paul Phillips. "The economic recovery has been slow to take hold for many of our families and individuals, who are struggling to make ends meet. We are working to provide sound advice and resources that can help put those in need on the path to sound financial footing." 

With nearly 47,000 members, assets of $317 million, and nine branch locations, Freedom First Credit Union is the largest Community Development Financial Institution in Virginia.

Founded in 1956, Freedom First Credit Union is owned and controlled by its members and operates for the purpose of providing access to affordable, equitable financial and development services to its members and the Roanoke and New River Valley communities. For more information, please visit

The award is named in honor of Alphonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement, who established the first “caissepopulaire” (people’s bank) in Quebec in 1900, and helped establish the first American credit union in New Hampshire in 1909. Desjardins was an ardent believer in the value of teaching individuals to save, and he promoted the idea of in-school savings programs (caissesscolaires).


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