BBB Accredited Business since

Freedom First Credit Union

Additional Locations

Phone: (540) 389-0244 View Additional Phone Numbers 5240 Valleypark Drive, Roanoke, VA 24019

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This company offers banking services.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Freedom First Credit Union meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Freedom First Credit Union include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 10 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

10 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 4 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 5
Delivery Issues 1
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 4
Total Closed Complaints 10

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

1 Customer Review on Freedom First Credit Union
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 1
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 1

Additional Information

BBB file opened: April 15, 1987 Business started: 01/15/1956 in VA
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

National Credit Union Administration
1775 Duke Street, Alexandria VA 22314-3428
Fax Number: 703-518-6409

Type of Entity


Business Management
Mr. Paul Phillips, President & CEO Ms. Sarah B. Andrews, Executive VP/COO Mr. Keith Rickoff, Executive VP/CFO
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Paul Phillips, President & CEO
Business Category


Industry Tips
BBB TIP Finance & Loan Tips

Additional Locations

  • 5240 Valleypark Drive

    Roanoke, VA 24019 (540) 389-0244 (866) 389-0244

  • P. O. Box 1999

    Salem, VA 24153


BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

7/15/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I deposited a check into my account via the mobile deposit method on July 9. When I deposited it, I was in the red due to some financial issues I am trying to correct. When I deposited the check, my account showed that the check was taken and that I had available funds. Due to this, I paid for a couple of things. 2 $5 charges and 1 $53 charge. This morning, when I opened my account, it showed I was negative for $200. I was very upset and called to see what happened. I was charged $32 overdraft for each of these charges. I was then told that they weren't going to release my funds to me for 5 days. I have bills to pay and they won't allow me to use the money that I worked for. They finally refunded 2 of the overdraft fees for me but I would like all of them refunded since it is not made known noticeably or when you deposit the check that it can take so long. Had I known this, I would have driven all the way up there to deposit my check. I intend to close my account but I want all of my money back. Due to all of this, I have no option for putting gas in my car or anything this week. I could have taken the check to ******* and paid a small fee so I could have my money instantly. I am left with nothing until Monday now and there was no warning that they would do this with my money.

Desired Settlement: I want to get all of my money back for these overdraft fees and the company needs to make it so that there is a warning when using this means of deposit that they may not have their money for a week. I also made a purchase this morning prior to finding all of this out and there will be an overdraft fee for this. I would like that to be refunded.

Business Response: In response to claim ********, our records indicate that Mr. **** enrolled in the Mobile Deposit service and accepted the terms and conditions on January 15, 2015 at 10:27 am.  The terms and conditions explain our Funds Availability policy and do not guarantee immediate availability of deposits.   When mobile deposits are posted, the account history displays both the check hold amount and release date in the online banking system.  The deposit Mr. **** references was posted to his account with a 2 business day hold  in accordance with our Funds Availability Policy and a release date shown of 7/13/15.  Our records indicate he logged into his account online on 7/9 at the time of the deposit and again on 7/10 at 12:23 PM in addition to his logins on 7/13 where the deposit and hold could easily be viewed.  As a result, no additional fees will be refunded to Mr. ****’s accounts at this time.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below. I do not feel that there was enough information making me aware that they could or would hold my check for 5 days. How can anyone afford this? People have bills to pay. Freedom First prides themselves on being member centered but when a member has something like this happen, rather than helping them get out of the hole, they force them further into it. I ask that Freedom First think about it from this perspective. Also, once this is cleared up, I will be closing my account and leaving your bank, so you will not have to deal with me any longer. Also, I am not a Mr.  Regards, ********* ****

5/8/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: My credit union is holding withdraws in order to generate insufficient fund charges. They hold check card transactions in my checking account and then release them all at once to insure charges to my account. I have a negative balance of $176.00 in my account of which $167.00 is insufficient fund charges. I had the money in there to cover the withdraws but the way they are holding the withdraws and releasing them all at once is creating these charges. It is a scam.

Desired Settlement: Refund the charges and stop using this practice.

Business Response: Upon receipt of complaint #********, a thorough review was conducted.  In addition, there have been subsequent discussions between Mr. ******* and ** **** *****, the ************** Branch Manager.  Mr. ******* does not dispute opting in to participate in the overdraft service.  Mr. ******* communicated that he values the service and does not want to be opted out.  As a courtesy, Freedom First has refunded Mr. ******* $167.00 in insufficient fund charges. Mr. ******* appears to be disputing the order in which debit card transactions are posted to his account.  His claim is that the Credit Union is structuring the posting order to maximize insufficient fund charges.  Mr. ******’s assertion is incorrect. The Credit Union posts debit card transactions to each member’s account in the exact order they are received from the merchant.   Should you require anything further, please don’t hesitate to contact the Credit Union.   Regards,Member Services

2/23/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was a signatory on my mother's account. My mother never authorized overdrafts on her debit card. Nevertheless, this credit union subsumed all of my mother's social security check to cover a portion of the unauthorized charge. And now it has withdrawn more than $1,000 from my account, with no warning whatsoever, to cover another portion of the unauthorized charge. A credit union or bank has the right to set-off. It does not have the right to overdraw an account, seize social security payments to pay for the overdraft, and then, without warning, seize money from another account.

Desired Settlement: These funds should be returned to my mother and I.

Business Response: Upon receipt of complaint ID # ********, a thorough review of this matter was conducted.   It was confirmed that Ms. ******** is a joint owner on her mother’s account and as such is jointly liable for the account.   On 8/1/2014  charges for a car rental from ***** were applied to the account in the amount of $2,055.99.  The account had insufficient funds to pay for the charges which resulted in the account balance going negative and a $30.00 fee being assessed.  A monthly bank statement was mailed to the address on record in September reflecting the August activity.  Neither owner of the account filed the necessary paperwork with the Credit Union disputing this charge within 60 days in accordance with Regulation E.   It was determined that the actions of Freedom First are permissible pursuant to the account agreement since the deficit balance in the account was not paid by either account owner.      We appreciate your inquiry and trust that this matter is now resolved.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below. The credit union did not have permission to overdraw this account.  Regards, ******** ********

Business Response: In response to claims ******** & ********: The Credit Union referenced the transaction details in the original response claim for clarity since it was the cause of the overdraft.  Additional research revealed the following: In accordance with changes to Regulation E that occurred in 2010, our records indicate that a letter and form notifying Mrs. *. ******** of her options regarding overdrafts on her debit card was mailed in April 2010 .  The letter stated that “after 8/15/2010 we would not pay overdrafts for everyday debit card transactions unless she told us that she wanted coverage for these transactions.”  The letter provided specific instructions to call us to opt-in to the service or complete the form and drop it off at a branch location. On 5/19/2010 Mrs. *. ******** was enrolled in the service by phone and mailed a confirmation notice which was sent out on 5/20/2010.  This notice stated “our records indicate you requested that Freedom First Credit Union authorize and pay overdrafts on your everyday Debit Card transactions.  If this is incorrect please contact us at ###-###-####.”  Since that time, no notification to remove the service has been received.       The  transfer that was made on 2/3/2015 is permissible as stated on page 2 of the Freedom First Account Agreement, “You agree that We may impress and enforce a statutory lien upon Your Accounts with Us to the extent You owe Us any money and We may enforce Our right to do so without further notice to you.  We have the right to set-off any of Your money or property in Our possession against any amount You owe us.  The right of set-off and Our impressed lien does not extend to any Keogh, IRA, or similar tax deferred deposit You may have with Us.  If Your Account is owned jointly, Our right of set-off and Our impressed lien extends to any amount owed to Us by any of the joint Owners.” In addition, this Agreement under the section entitled Periodic Statements says the following; “You will be provided with a periodic statement showing activity on your account.  If you believe any statement reflects discrepancies, you must notify us of such discrepancies within 60 days from the date we mailed the statement to you.”  Since that time frame has passed we consider this matter closed. 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.No confirmation letter was received on 05/20/2010.   A hard copy of such evidence is requested.Regards,******** ******** 

Business Response: The notice mailed on 5/20/2010 is provided by the Credit Union as a courtesy and not required by Regulation.  Copies are not available.  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.  This business alleges it received permission via telephone, and mailed a confirmation supporting its claim to the consumer.  Consumer denies telephone permission was granted; nor was a confirmation letter received.  No proof, other than the business self-supporting allegations, exist to support its claim.  The business would certainly not accept such a resolution from a customer. It acted impermissibly in violation of law. Regards, ******** ********

2/23/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: This company has repossessed my truck without following the proper procedures. They were supposed to notify me in writing via U.S. mail 10 days prior to the repo, according to VA Code Section 6.2-2217 Section A. My truck was repo'd on 1/29, with notification happening on 1/30 via U.S. mail - that I had 10 days from the date of the letter to pay $460. The next day, 1/31, I received notification that my truck was REPO'd. And then on 2/2 I received notification via certified mail of the same thing. They are in clear violation of my rights under this particular code section. On 1/31, I paid cash, $500, to Freedom First, in accordance with the first letter that I received. I WANT MY TRUCK BACK.

Desired Settlement: I want my truck back and I will make good on the outstanding balance by 2/13/15.

Business Response: The members were contacted prior to our receipt of the BBB complaint.   To begin, the Virginia Code referenced in the complaint does not apply to regulated financial institutions such as Freedom First Federal Credit Union. The member was contacted on a number of different occasions via phone and mail. The contacts were not returned and, in one case, a promise was made and not fulfilled.   The issue at hand is in the process of being resolved. Once full resolution is made with the consummation of a new loan agreement, scheduled for February 5, 2015, the vehicle will be returned to the member.   Sincerely,  Freedom First Credit Union

5/15/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I contacted customer service to inquire about a letter received in the mail regarding my account. I was uncertain as to why I would have received the letter and hoped to gain clarity from a representative. On the first call I was unable to gain answers from the representatives I spoke with and was told that I would receive a call back. After not hearing from anyone days later, I called back, but was still not given any answers or direction as to what the issue with my account was. In fact, I was told by one of the representatives that he wished he had some answers for me, but he did not know why my account reflected the details it did. He wanted me to again wait for a call back from someone else on the staff. This caused some disappointment and distrust in my relationship with Freedom First. I didn't understand why no one was able to give me answers as to what was being charged to my account? The statements that I was directed to online reflected something different than what the representative was seeing on his end. Later after still reviewing my account and seeing charges that I couldn't follow, I called again to the service line to explain why the charges did not seem right. This time I was directed to call the card processing department and at this point I was exhausted and drained with the matter. The card processing department was able to give some clarity but not able to completely help me, so they directed me back to Freedom First. At this point I felt still misled and disrespected by the representatives. My simple request was to remove the $25 late fee that was applied due to my account not being clear in what was being charged to me. The representative put all the blame on me and told me they didn't do anything wrong after wasting much of my time in an exhausting chase for information. On top of that he was rude and told me that I called the processing department and called him back because I didn't quote "get the answer I wanted to hear." This is the complete opposite of what I believe customer service is supposed to be like, which is helpful. As a customer of Freedom First for several years I am disappointed to discover that I have put my trust in, and conducted business with a company that would not be reliable or polite. As a consumer, I do business with many companies and I have no problem paying for services rendered, but Freedom First has made me feel cheated and mistreated and as a result I have discontinued my services with them. I will not do business with Freedom First in the future and will caution others not to do so as well.

Business Response: Ms. ******,   Upon receipt of complaint ID # ********, a thorough review of this matter was conducted. It was determined that Ms. *******’s account was assessed a $25.00 fee in February due to a payment in January being received after the due date. In March, a payment was received and posted to her account.  However, it was subsequently reversed because the payment was not collected from the bank it was drawn on which resulted in the letter being sent to Ms. *******. A review of Credit Union phone records revealed the following conversations and attempts to contact Ms. ******* which have been summarized below: March 27th 10:14 am – Freedom First left a message on her home phone. April 10th 4:54 pm – Freedom First left a message on her home phone. April 10th 4:54 pm – Freedom First sent an e-mail to Ms. *******. April 15th 9:45 am – Ms. ******* called Freedom First .  Research was needed and she had limited time to discuss so she was asked to call back later in the day. April 15th 3:03 pm – Ms. ******* called and research was still underway.  Freedom First promised her a call back that day. April 15th 3:10 pm – Freedom First called and spoke to Ms. ******* about her account. April 17th 5:54 pm – Ms. ******* called to discuss her account and request the $25 fee refund. She was informed the Credit Union was not at fault and that the fee would not be waived. May 2nd 11:57 am – Ms. ******* called requesting a call back. May 2nd 11:59 am – Freedom First called and left her a message.                 We sincerely apologize for Ms. *******’s frustration with Freedom First.  Our goal is to impact every member in a positive manner while delivering a high standard of service.  At Ms. *******’s request the Credit Union is refunding the $25.00 fee to her account as a courtesy. 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution would be satisfactory to me.  I will wait for the business to perform this action and, if it does, will consider this complaint resolved. Regards, ***** ******* Many of the and I did not receive messages from the calls and emails they claim to have made before I initially contacted them. They failed to mention the inaccuracy of my statements and their lack of understanding why they were incorrect. I will accept the $25 credit, which was my initial request that they were unwilling to accommodate, but it does not make up for the rudeness of the representatives and the inconsideration of my time.

2/17/2014 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: In November of 2013 I contacted mr. ***** ********* with Freedom First Federal Credit Union. The subject of our conversation was personal debt consolidation. Mr. ********* advised me that as long as all of my Freedom First accounts were current, my 676 credit score entitled me to a personal debt consolidation loan of $10,000 to be repaid over 36 months. ********* requested pay stubs and other documents which were promptly forwarded to him through the Towers Mall (Colonial Ave.) branch. At this time all of my accounts with Freedom First were current. In December of 2013 I began receiving correspondences from Freedom First inquiring as to why I had not been paying on my accounts. In January 2014 I again contacted Mr. ********* to inquire as to the status of my debt consolidation loan. ******** informed me that he had failed to initiate the loan process for this loan. Now my 676 credit score has dropped to 482 and I am facing repossession of my vehicle thanks to the poor follow-up skills of Mr. ***** *********.

Desired Settlement: I would like the Debt Consolidation loan to be originated immediately, my accounts with Freedom First reported current, and the two months of delinquent activity removed from my credit report.

Business Response: ID ******* To whom it may concern: Upon receipt of complaint ID # ******* an investigation has been conducted with the following determination: After having the opportunity to listen to the recorded phone conversation between Mr. ******** and Mr. ********* dated November 20, 2013 it is fair and reasonable to state that the purpose of the call was to extend payment of an existing Freedom First debt.  A loan application was not originated. A second recorded call dated December 16, 2013 between Mr. ******** and Mr. ********* further discussed Mr. ********’s request to skip a loan payment. While we sincerely apologize for Mr. ********’s dissatisfaction we have been unable to substantiate his claim.

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below. With all due respect the person who responded to the complaint is completely incorrect. Mr. ********* extended an offer to borrow $10,000 over 36 months in order to ease my financial burden. I was parked on ****** Roanoke when I took the phone call. It was at that time that he requested pay stubs in order to initiate the loan process. I then drove to the Colonial Ave. branch location where said pay stubs were forwarded to Mr. ********* along with a letter expressing the reasons for my loan request. $10,000 over 36 months seems to be less indicative of a "one-time" payment forgiveness program and more indicative of a debt consolidation loan. I request mediation with a representative from my legal team and a representative from Freedom First's team. It is at this time that my team and I will determine the nature of the conversations with Mr. ********* and whether the recordings from said conversations have been adulterated. Regards, **** ********

Business Response: ID ******* Thank you for your recent feedback. We would be happy to review the recorded telephone calls between you and Freedom First with your legal team.  Please provide a written authorization allowing us to discuss your non-public information with your designated representative.  Once we receive the contact information for your legal representative we will contact them and schedule a time to meet with a Credit Union representative and legal counsel to review the calls. Respectfully, ****** **** **** Vice President Retail Development

Consumer Response: Once I have reviewed the material with my legal team we will decide on the status of this complaint.

9/27/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: Customer service is a main focus but not the only issue by far! I was first a member ( That term is used loosely!) of Freedom First Credit Union beginning in 1988. I have been thru 3 name changes. Have had multiple loans. In the past there has been money deposited into my fathers account instead of mine. I suppose that was corrected. I have been given the incorrect payoff for an auto loan which hey never honored the payoff given by the manager of the christiansburg branch(*****). Recently (the last couple of days) The fraud dept. flagged my account because of 2 internet charges of 1.00 and 2.99 in which I was unable to use my card for my purchases when I had over 1000.00 dollars in my account. They said that it was resolved when the following day I am purchasing my son a cell phone and am denied because of them not allowing the funds to go through until I have wasted over an hour an 15 minutes or so and had to call them to get them to finally allow the purchase to go through! Ther was still over a thousand dollars in the account at that time. Then I am over an hour away from home and stop to get gas, some fruit and a bottle of water and once again am completely embarrassed by being declined again because of the amount of tries that the cell phone purchase was denied. they then said that they would allow me to use my card for 5 minutes, and that I would not be able to use it for 24 hours. There is no reason that they should continue to freeze my account taking away from me and my childrens plans, my ability to get gas , make my grocery purchases, ect. Highly embarassing situations when it is declined day after day for no true, and legitimate reasons, especially when I have told them not to use thier fraud dept. with my card anymore, because they do not use it properly. Their policies and practices and lack of customer service has provided embarrassment, loss of purchases and loss of entertainmentfor my children that had been previously planned because of not being able to use MY money wnen I need my money for the needs of my family!!! I tried to speak to the Vice President yesterday, but was unavailable. Her name is ***** **** ****. I called this morning and she was unavailable, but I was told by the customer service representative that she had spoken to her and that she would call me back within 20 minutes! No return call!!! Has been at least an hour or so since I was told this. I am a completely dissattisfied member who is suppose to be a part owner(HA HA). I have been completely taken advantage of and totally disrespected in multiple ways! I have to keep an account there because of my parents who are out of state and because my father and I have a Mortgage there. I am opening accounts elsewhere for my general banking needs and will be advising everyone that I know and ever come in contact with to never do business with them. They have had every opportunity to make these situations right down to in one instance just offering an appology to me from one employee. They have made no effort to resolve any of these and I dont think they ever will! I have never filed a complaint on anyone or any institution with the BBB, but this institution has left me no other choice!!! Thank you!!! *** *. *****

Desired Settlement: I want an apology from ***** for his threatening, aggressive and rude behavior. I want an apology fromFreedom first as a whole for affecting my personal and family purchases that have negatively affected my children and their happiness and needs. They should definatly offer me something in return for the horrible customer service!!! This a sad to me!!! A 25 or 26 year business relationship that is totally sour at this point because of lack of concern for thier members!!! Frredom First was a much better place to do business when it was ** **** Credit union and **** Federal Credit union. They are steadily going down hill and that is very sad!!!

Business Response: To whom it may concern:    Upon receipt of complaint ID # ******* an investigation has been conducted with the following determination:    We sincerely apologize for Mr. *****’s increased dissatisfaction when working with Freedom First.  Our goal is to impact every member in a positive manner while delivering a high standard of service.  We value our long time relationships and carefully consider the balance between servicing and protecting each account owner’s information and finances.  As you know, Banking has evolved greatly in the past 25 years, and we too have experienced many changes not only in our name (******* ** Credit Union changed our name to **** Federal Credit Union in 1999 and then to Freedom First Credit Union in 2003 to be inclusive of both the New River and Roanoke Valleys), but in our regulatory environment, and advancing technology.    Due to record retention and lapse of time we are unable to review two of Mr. *****’s claims.  However, our Vice President of Retail and Development, ****** **** ****, has been diligently working with Mr. ***** since March 7, 2013 to personally address all active and ongoing concerns.    At approximately 11:08 A.M. on March 7, 2013 Mr. ***** and his wife requested a service from the Personal Banker in the Christiansburg Branch.  The service was denied due to security reasons and Mr. ***** became frustrated with the Branch Manager.  Mr. ***** elevated his displeasure to Ms. **** and shared his concern that the Branch Manager was aggressive and demanded an apology from the Manager.      After a thorough review of the situation that occurred in the Branch lobby, including interviewing branch employees and video surveillance, the decision was made an apology was not required from the Branch Manager and was communicated to Mr. ***** verbally by Ms. ****.    Most recently Mr. ***** requested to be exempt from our fraud protection when using his debit card due to the interruptions referenced in his complaint.      On September 14, 2013 a total of 19 XBOX authorizations were applied to Mr. *****’s checking account from use of his debit card.  XBOX has a high fraud score indicator which resulted in an unsuccessful call to Mr. ***** from our fraud provider to a number on file which was no longer in service.       On September 15, 2013 another XBOX authorization was applied to the account.      The unsuccessful attempt to speak with Mr. ***** resulted in his card being placed in a restricted status on September 16, 2013.  After a conversation between Mr. ***** and our fraud provider that evening the card was re-opened but with the understanding it would take 24 hours for the fraud score to decrease to normal levels and the use of the debit card during that time should be held to normal transactions.  On September 17, 2013 Mr. ***** was able to use his debit card until early afternoon when thirteen authorizations from Virgin Mobile cell phone were applied to his account again increasing the fraud score indicator.  The card was placed in a restricted status but promptly released when Mr. ***** called and explained he needed to purchase a phone for a family member.  A review of the phone recording revealed that the credit union representative explained to Mr. ***** why the card was not working and his card would be restricted for the remainder of the day.  Mr. ***** attempted to use the card with increasing frustration for the remainder of the day.    On September 18, 2013 Mr. ***** was able to use his debit card on his first attempt at 8:04 A.M. and throughout the day.  However, between 4:10 and 9:00 P.M, nine XBOX authorizations were placed on his account which took the fraud score to an elevated status which resulted in the card being restricted again by 10:25 P.M.      After a thorough review of all transactions, Freedom First’s business rules, and the communications between Mr. ***** and Credit Union representatives I was unable to identify a weakness in the system or the business rules in place to detect and prevent fraud.      Freedom First prides itself on exceptional service and a higher delivery standard.  One of our fiduciary responsibilities is to protect our members regarding potential fraud.  Freedom First actively trains and develops our employee’s skill set to ensure each member is offered a balanced experience.    At Mr. *****’s request a letter of apology will be sent addressing his less than satisfactory experience while working through this matter with the Credit Union.  Rest assured, the processes in place are safe and sound practices in the financial industry and not intended to disrupt family matters or cause personal stress.    

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.They do not take the responsibility needed in this matter. I have had repeated problem even since the complaint to the extent that I have been unable to pay my satelite bill and on and on. They have cost me hours upon hours of my very valuable time and heartache and disappointment for my children because of thier unacceptable practices. They have cost me time and money from having to spend so much time trying to correct this situation which is still not resolved. They care only about themselves and making them look justified in thier actions including the Branch manager *****. I will only accept an apology from ***** and from Freedom First CU, and they should ofeer even more than that. I have lost many hours of work time and my childrens disappointment as well through thier actions and trying to resolve this resonably with them. Thank you!!!

8/16/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: I am writing to file a formal complaint about an issue that took place with Freedom First Credit Union (branch location-Williamson Road). I will explain the circumstances that led up to me having to file a formal complaint. On July 3, 2013, I entered the Williamson Road branch location in order to receive monies so that I could pay my bills. My bills came up to $783.23 therefore I asked the teller to give me $783.23 in cash from my state unemployment benefits debit card; that which, she did. I then proceeded to prepare my bills by giving the teller, one-by-one, the dollar amount for each bill and requested a money order as needed. On July 18, 2013 I noticed that there was a cash advance given to me for the exact amount of what my bills were for the month of July which was $783.23, but I also noticed that on July 3, 2013 on the same date that I received a cash advance from my unemployment benefits debit card, a cash withdrawal in the amount of $107.23 was made and also a cash withdrawal on July 3, 2013 in the amount of $69.00 was made. In addition, I noticed that there was $112.00 transferred from my checking account into the share secured loan account. I distinctly asked the teller to take the cash monies that I had given her and place those monies towards the share secured loan account. The teller did not comply and therefore transferred funds from my savings account. NOTE: When confronted with the issue of transferring monies from my checking account into the share secured loan account which was the opposite of what I had asked the teller to do; the teller informed me that tellers cannot take cash for the share secured loan account therefore it has to come out of a member’s checking account despite the fact that I gave the teller cash money to go towards the share secured loan account in the amount of $112.00. Therefore, the share secured loan was paid twice but was not indicated as being paid twice on any paperwork given to me. It was later revealed to me that the statement made by the teller about members not being able to pay a share secured loan in cash was incorrect and that members can in fact pay towards a share secured loan account with cash monies which is what I did on July 3, 2013. On July 18, 2013, I was looking at my bank statement and noticed that there were some discrepancies on my bank account. I called a branch location of Freedom First Credit Union, spoke with a teller and inquired over the phone about these discrepancies and the teller tried to explain to me what the discrepancy were and the teller came to the conclusion that the matter needed to be resolved by me coming to a Freedom First branch location in person and speaking with a teller or a bank employee in person. Therefore, I left home directly after speaking with this teller and went to the Freedom First Credit Union branch on Williamson Road. I let the tellers there know that there were some discrepancies in my account and would like an explanation as to why. The tellers were not willing to help because they informed me that it was almost closing time. I informed the tellers that if there is a discrepancy in a member’s account that they should be willing to take the time out to assist the member in figuring out what the discrepancy was and therefore assisting with a solution to the problem. The tellers and Freedom First Credit Union’s Personal Banking Representative ****s ******** attempted to assist me with the matter of the discrepancies. My mother, who is 69 years of age, was with me also inquired about the discrepancies as well with ****s ******** and Mr. ******** became agitated and annoyed with my mother and spoke to my mother in a very demeaning and degrading tone. Mr. ******** then asked me if I was accusing one of his tellers of stealing money. I informed Mr. ******** that if there is a discrepancy in my account and I have no clue how it got there then I have no other recourse than to assume that someone stole my money from my account until otherwise stated and proven. Mr. ******** then informed me that since that was the case I should speak with the branch manager. Therefore, the issue did not get resolved and I was simply given some papers that I was told were in reference to the discrepancies and was told to make an appointment with the bank manager. I made the appointment to speak with the branch manager for July 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm and then left the Williamson Road branch building. On July 19, 2013 I arrived at the Williamson Road branch of Freedom First Credit Union and was approached by the branch manager ******* *******. I was escorted by Ms. ******* to her office and attempted to explain to Ms. ******* what the issue was with my account and Ms. ******* immediately began raising her voice and began to yell at me in response. I asked Ms. ******* why was she yelling and she stated that she was already told by her employees that I had come into the bank with an attitude and I had no right to come into her bank and accuse an employee of stealing money. I informed Ms. ******* that until I know otherwise then I have no other choice but to assume that the money was stolen or misplaced. I also informed Ms. ******* that people make mistakes and computers make mistakes and the issue could have come from either one of those instances as well. I asked Ms. ******* why was she behaving in such an unpleasant manner and Ms. ******* continued to speak to me in a very harsh tone and at one point got up out of her chair and came very close to my face and came within my personal space in a very threatening manner and stated that “I am not the one acting unpleasant, you are the one acting unpleasant. My bank tellers already informed me about how you were acting yesterday so I feel like you are the one that has an attitude problem.” I informed Ms. ******* that the bank tellers information in reference to my behavior was false and in fact it was the bank employees that were surprisingly acting in an unprofessional manner and my mother was witness to this behavior, and my mother did comment on their negative behavior and informed me that it was that type of behavior that forced her to end her membership at Freedom First Credit Union. I also informed Ms. ******* that she was basing this whole meeting on preconceived notions about what actually took place in the bank on the prior date of July 18, 2013 and was therefore not giving me a chance to tell my side of the story. Ms. ******* immediately dismissed my multiple attempts to try to explain to her what I felt the discrepancies were and was not willing to listen to me at all and stated that she was going to inform Ms. ****** **** ****, her supervisor about the matter despite me wanting to rectify the situation with her on that date of July 19, 2013, in order to avoid having to escalate the matter to upper level employees. In addition, Ms. ******* ignored my request for assistance with coming up with a solution to the problem and therefore told me that I could speak with her supervisor and that she was no longer going to speak with me about the matter. I asked Ms. ******* for her supervisor’s contact information as well as the CEO/President of Freedom First Credit Union’s contact information. NOTE: The contact information that she gave me for the CEO/President was false. Ms. ******* gave me the correct contact information for her supervisor namely Ms. ****** **** **** who is the Vice President of Retail Development. Ms. ******* gave me the correct name of the CEO/President but the contact number was incorrect. On July 19, 2013 I left directly from Freedom First Credit Union’s Williamson Road branch and went to the main office on Valleypark Drive. I informed the individuals there about the matter of the discrepancies in my account as well as the behavior displayed by ******* *******, bank manager of Freedom First Credit Union on Williamson Road. I requested to speak with an upper level employee but requested to not speak with ****** **** ****, due to Ms. ******* having stated while in her office on the date of July 19, 2013 that she was emailing Ms. **** about the matter therefore I wanted to avoid being screamed and yelled at again and having to speak with someone who would be biased which is how Ms. ******* had behaved and treated me on the date of July 19, 2013. On July 19, 2013 Ms. ****** **** **** came out to speak with me and I informed Ms. **** why I did not want to speak with her and Ms. **** informed me that she could and would help me. I informed Ms. **** that I would speak with her if she would be willing to listen and to not yell and scream as did the Williamson Road branch manager, Ms. ******* ******* had done. I explained to Ms. **** about the discrepancies in my account in detail as well as the negative behaviors displayed by Freedom First Credit Union’s Williamson Road branch employees. Ms. **** requested that I give her time to review the information given to her and she would be getting back with me as soon as possible. In reference to Ms. ******* *******’s negative behavior, Ms. **** attempted to convince me that I may have possibly misconstrued Ms. *******’s actions as being threatening. I and my mother informed Ms. **** that I did not misconstrue Ms. *******’s actions as being threatening and I went on to inform Ms. **** that Ms. ******* *******’s behavior towards me on the date of July 19, 2013 as well as the behaviors displayed by various bank employees on July 18, 2013 was not only inappropriate but it was also unprofessional and extremely uncivilized. I did inform Ms. **** that I was thinking about possibly filing charges against Ms. ******* for approaching me in a threatening manner but had decided against it at the advice of my mother. I did contact the Roanoke City Police Department and spoke with them about the matter. NOTE: If any individuals question the validity of my statement about the negative behaviors displayed by Ms. ******* *******, Mr. ****s ******** and various Williamson Road branch employees on the dates of July 18 and July 19, 2013, I therefore, suggest reviewing any camera footage that the bank may have in reference to the dates of July 18, 2013 and July 19, 2013. I did contact the incorrect number that was given to me by Ms. ******* as being the CEO’s contact information and left a message on that individual’s voicemail who was stated as being a “**** *********” (sp?). I later contacted a branch office and received the correct contact information for the CEO’s secretary, namely “***” and informed *** about the matter and requested to speak directly with the CEO, Mr. **** ********. Mr. ******** did give me a call and left a message on my voicemail on July 22, 2013. Ms. ****** **** **** had also called me on July 22, 2013 to inform me that she had a “resolution on the disputed dollar amounts” that had been formerly stated to Ms. **** on July 19, 2013. I spoke with Ms. **** and scheduled to meet with Ms. **** on July 25, 2013. In addition, I spoke with the CEO of Freedom First Credit Union, Mr. **** ********, who informed me that if I was not satisfied with the outcome of my meeting on July 25, 2013 that I could escalate the matter by writing a complaint to the supervisory committee. I met with ****** **** ****, Vice President of Retail Development and Mr. **** *********, whom I was told was a teller on July 25, 2013. Ms. **** and Mr. ********* went over the exact same paperwork that had previously been given to me by Mr. ****s ******** on July 18, 2013. I informed both Ms. **** and Mr. ********* that the paperwork still did not explain what happened to the two (2) cash withdrawals that were taken from my account on July 3, 2013 in the amount of $107.23 and $69.00 without my authorization. In addition, the paperwork shown to me did not explain why the teller did not comply with my request to NOT take monies from my checking account and transfer $112 towards payment for my share secured loan account when I had given the teller cash for this amount. I informed Ms. **** and Mr. ********* that I did not need $107.23 nor did I need $69.00 to be removed from my account because I had cash in the amount of $783.23 in my hand that which was the exact dollar amount needed to pay my bills and therefore no additional monies should have been taken out of my bank account because those transactions were not needed nor were they necessary due to the fact that I had $783.23 cash in hand that would cover payment for all of my bills. Therefore, why was extra taken out when $783.23 cash was in my hand that would cover my bills and no more monies were needed by me. The meeting with Ms. ****** **** **** and Mr. **** ********* did not bring forth a solution nor did the meeting remedy the problem. I am still missing monies from my account in the amount of $107.23 and $69.00 that I did not authorize. In addition, the unauthorized transactions have not been corrected by Freedom First Credit Union of which the bank employee transferred funds from my checking account in the amount of $112.00 and placing those monies towards payment of my share secured loan account despite having given the teller cash for this transaction.

Desired Settlement: I am very disappointed by the negative, unprofessional, uncivilized and somewhat barbaric behavior of Freedom First Credit Union employees. The branch manager in addition to the other employees at the Williamson Road Freedom First Credit Union branch that I inquired with about this matter, should have taken out time with me and explained to me what exactly took place and where the discrepancies came from, instead of behaving in a manner that was a very a hostile, argumentative and contentious manner. That behavior should not be tolerated in a professional place of business, especially with a customer/member. The individuals at the branch, on Williamson Road, decided to handle the matter in an opposite manner and began to yell at me and were extremely disrespectful towards myself as well as my elderly mother. I am very ashamed for them knowing that they would behave in this manner at their place of business and I am now ashamed to say that I am a member of this bank. In addition, I would like for the monetary activity that took place on July 3, 2013 to be investigated further and explained to me in detail why additional monies were withdrawn from my account on July 3, 2013 when these monies were not authorized to be withdrawn because I had all monies needed by me in cash in my hand and also why monies were transferred from my checking account into my share secured loan as a payment towards the loan when I paid the loan with cash money and also informed the teller to not remove monies from my checking account for any reason. I would like for the unauthorized transactions to be returned back into my checking account, therefore correcting the error. In addition, I would like for disciplinary actions to be taken towards Ms. ******* *******, Mr. ***** ******** and various Freedom First Credit Union Williamson Road branch employees involved, due their indignant behaviors as well as an apology given not only to me but to my elderly mother.

Business Response: Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2013 3:20 PMTo: BBB Western VirginiaSubject: Website: Complaint ResponseBusiness Response to a ComplaintComplaint ID#:  *******Company Name:  Freedom First Credit UnionCompany Contact:  Paul PhillipsCompany Phone:  ###-###-####Company Email: **************************Person Who Sent the Complaint:  ******* L ********  Response:Upon receipt of complaint ID # ******* an investigation has been conducted with the following determination: Ms. ******** visited the Freedom First Williamson Road Branch 3 separate times on July 3, 2013. Each interaction was captured by video surveillance. At approximately 12:06pm she approached a teller and presented a form of identification and her state unemployment benefit card for which we performed a cash advance and placed the funds into her account with no exchange of cash. The teller did not open a cash drawer and count back $783.23, all funds were placed on deposit. Ms. ******** then purchased a money order, transferred a loan payment, and made 2 separate cash withdrawals each of which were counted out of the teller’s cash drawer, all transactions coming from the funds deposited to her account. The teller handed Ms. ******** 2 empty standard mail envelopes. Ms. ******** placed each of the two cash withdrawals into the envelopes. Following these transactions Ms. ********’s mother joined her at the teller line and handed her a different envelope of cash. At this time 4 additional money orders where purchased using the cash from the exchanged envelope on behalf of her mother. At approximately 1:05pm Ms. ******** came back to the Freedom First Williamson Road drive thru and cashed one of the money orders that had been purchased earlier in the day. At approximately 3:54pm Ms. ******** returned to the lobby of the Freedom First Williamson Road Branch and purchased a money order with cash. After a thorough review of all transactions by signed receipts, chronological order of transactions, and video surveillance we did not identify any unauthorized transactions on Ms. ********’s account or a double posting of a loan payment. Freedom Frist prides itself on exceptional service and a higher delivery standard. Every member should feel valuable when interacting with members of our team. Freedom First actively trains and develops our employee’s skill set to ensure each member is offered a WOW experience. To demonstrate the Credit Union’s commitment to service we employ an independent third party to survey members with recent transactions randomly to gauge our level of success and best practices. At Ms. ********’s request a letter of apology will be sent from the Freedom First Williamson Road Branch and appropriate conversations have taken place with Branch employees where applicable. Sent on: 8/1/2013 3:19:53 PM

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below. It states that "they" which means Freedom First Credit Union reviewed video surveillance; not I, nor my mother, nor the Better Business Bureau itself has had an opportunity to review this video surveillance in order to question the validity of the statements made by Freedom First Credit Union in reference to the monetary transactions that took place on the dates in question therefore, Freedom First Credit Union can say anything about what happened on that day. In addition, I know that the monetary transactions that I stated in my original complaint were factual and until otherwise proven I know them to be fact.  I have read the reviews about Freedom First Credit Union and in my opinion they have a history of being evasive when it comes to handling unsatisfactory behaviors and unsatisfactory transactions made by their bank employees. In addition, I have discovered, through researching this company, that they can also be somewhat deceptive when it comes to giving and receiving information in reference to bank transactions and inappropriate behaviors of their bank employees. Therefore, I will not accept a statement from them stating that the company itself are the only individuals that has seen this video surveillance footage and take what Freedom First Credit Union stated that "they" saw as being fact.  I also do not and will not accept a written apology because the persons that behaved inappropriately and approached me in a threatening manner and also the individual that was rude and spoke to my elderly mother in a demeaning manner did not do so via a letter. These individuals behaved in this manner in a public forum while I was at their place of business, namely Freedom First Credit Union, therefore I want an apology from the actual individuals involved, in person to both me and also to my mother. Now, after stating what I want, I can assure you that I, nor my mother will be getting an apology in person from any of these individuals that treated us so inappropriately at Freedom First Credit Union, and nor will I be allowed to review any video surveillance footage that took place on the dates in question at Freedom First Credit Union because, I have become apprised of the fact that that is how Freedom First Credit Union handles any issue or problem that arises with their company. They pretty much don't handle them at all; they ignore them and send their members on a paper chase.  I have been with this bank for years and years, every since I was a small child and my parents opened a bank account for me, before this company became Freedom First Credit Union, and I have been a loyal customer for all that time; and it is ridiculous that I have to file complaints, write letters and be treated as less than human by a company that I have been with for so long. It is unacceptable to me to be treated in such an improper manner and it is even more unacceptable to me that my mother who is an elderly woman be treated with such disrespect. I do not want to be affiliated with a company that allows their bank employees to behave in such a manner, in a public place no less and at their place place of business. I also do not want to be affiliated with a company that is not willing to properly and professionally  handle matters that involve monetary transactions that a bank member holds in question. Therefore I will be removing my monies from Freedom First Credit Union as soon as I possibly can. In addition, I will be watching my bank account very closely until such time as I am able to move my monies to a different bank, in order that no other "unauthorized transactions" take place with my bank account at Freedom First Credit Union in retaliation for me filing a complaint. In closing, I would like to highly suggest that Freedom First Credit Union acquire and receive the assistance from a separate and independent Human Resources Consultant to train Freedom First Credit Union employees on how to effectively and appropriately handle matters and issues in regards to members feeling as though their services are unsatisfactory. Thank you so very much to the Better Business Bureau for your assistance with addressing this matter, it was so greatly appreciated. Regards,******* ********

4/30/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: On or about december we noticed unartrised transaction on the account.We asked about the transactions.I got print out went into the salem branch informed them the transactions were unarthised.Filled a form with them to have funds returned to the account on 3-29-13.On 4-2-13 the bank allowed these transactions to be applied to the account again.these trans actions took place on 3-4-13 and again on 4-2-13 after being informed over drafting my account both times for a total of 896.50 with over drafts fees.I have tried to resolve this with the bank with no luck.I went into the bank on 4-2-13 and closed my account per bank instructions.Stating this was the only way to stop these trans action.Then they informed me that they could no longer help me reslove the matter because i had closed my account.I have sence reopened an account at anther bank.Have contacted the State Police about the matter.And will wait to hear from you.I also found out on my ststements that the bank was sent a prenotification form about these trans actions on 2-10-13.I was never notified or asked about this or if it was authorised. thank you ****** ** ******

Desired Settlement: 12-4-12 return mail fee of 3.00 on 12-4-12 a return mail fee of 1.00 0n 12-4-12 a return mail fee of a 1.00.on 12-31-12 a withdrawl transfer to loan for 15.00.on 2-11-13 withdrawal prenotification 30.00. 2-14-13 w/d prenotification 1.00. 3-1-13 31.50 30.00 NSF. 3-4-13 315.62 30.00 NSF.then again after being notified 4-2-13 315.62 45.00 NSF transfer pay 33.66. total comes to 882.66

Business Response: The Credit Union received transaction dispute paperwork from ***** ******, Power of Attorney of ****** ******.  The transactions being disputed are covered under Regulation E, and are of varying types, one involving a debit transaction and the other involving an ACH transaction (Automated Clearing House.)  The ACH transaction, per NACHA rules, requires separate forms in order to process a claim.  The paperwork that was originally provided does support the debit card dispute, which is currently in process.  The same day our Central Operations department received the paperwork (4/1/13) the Power of Attorney, ***** ******, was called back by a branch employee to notify her that a separate set of forms was required for the ACH transaction.  On 4/2/13 the ACH transaction cleared the account again since the Credit Union had yet to receive the proper documentation to process the ACH dispute claim.  ***** ****** refused to sign the required paperwork and came into a branch to close her checking account on 4/2/13.  A savings account is still open in order to process the claim once we receive the proper documentation.   

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response offer made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this proposed action would not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below. No mrs. ****** did not refuse to sign anything.She was also told that the only way to resolve this matter was to close the account which she did and reopened another at a different this time she was told they could no longer help her because she had closed the account.Mrs. ****** went into the bank two weeks prior to second trans action and filled out there paper work and they still allowed the second trans action.Futher more no papers have been signed to arthized this trans action by myself Mr. Walton or Virginia housing.I will wait to hear from you.As I said I went all the way to salem back in March on the 25th and signed the despute forms.So are they telling me because they messed up again I need to make another trip into the bank and fill out ore paper work at my cost? Regards, ****** ******   

Consumer Response: Since I spoke with you last.I was told that the formed I filled out was lost then it was the wrong form.Well with that wrong form I have received 31.00 and 315.62 of the money deducted from my account.The 31.50 coming from ***** ****** wich I contacted myself and they replaced.Now I have since went back to the Bank and filled yet another despute form once again to there request on 4-8-2013.I have not had a response as of today.I will be sending those copies to you shortley.    Thanks for all your help but in all these trips at once again there mistakes is getting costly to myself. Regards, ****** ******  

Business Response: The Credit Union did receive the updated ACH dispute form completed by our member’s Power of Attorney, Mrs. ******, on 4/8/13.  In accordance with Regulation E we credited the members’ account for $315.62 on 4/11/13 and again for $315.62 on 4/18/13 and mailed a letter to the address on file explaining the details of the claim and notifying the member that the Unauthorized ACH claim is now closed.  Fee’s associated with these transactions, as well as two additional transactions mentioned in the member statement were also credited to the account on 4/18/13.  In reviewing the dispute statement, the balance column of the account history instead of the transaction amount column is being read, therefore we recommend scheduling a meeting with Mrs. ****** at one of our branch locations to review the account history in detail.  If Mrs. ****** will let us know a branch location and date that works best for her schedule, we can set an appointment.  If she is not able to meet at a branch, please let us know the best way to communicate the detailed information. 

9/17/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes



Business Response: Good Afternoon, I am writing in response to case *******.  I apologize for any inconvenience you experienced with your ATM card but the processes in place (including the machine capturing the card after a period of time has elapsed when it has not been removed from the machine) all exist for the consumer's protection.  Cards captured at an ATM that are issued by the financial who owns the ATM are handled differently from those issued by another financial.   It is up to the financial institution's own internal procedures as to how they handle cards captured that belong to their members or customers.  However, cards captured that belong to members or customers of other financial institutions are bound by applicable network rules.  Based on the reason the card was captured, network rules actually prohibit the financial from returning the card to the cardholder.  As a result, our process is to immediately shred any non-member card that is captured in an ATM owned by Freedom First to minimize the risk to all parties involved. Sincerely, **** ********