Big day for Voyageur, downtown
A new hub for financial services provider Desjardins and its affiliated credit unions will add jobs, enhance service for clients and bring another boost to the downtown core, according to representatives.
“The opening of this centre is an exciting moment and the next step for the Voyageurs Credit Unions, Desjardins Business Centre and also Desjardins Signature Service office,” said Guy Cormier, CEO of the co-operative financial institution, during a ribbon-cutting and open house on Monday.
“It’s quite impressive what they have done here, putting all the expertise under one roof, and giving to you, our members and our clients, all the experience that you deserve.”
The new facility occupies an 11,000-square-foot space in the Rainbow Centre, facing onto Elm Street, that was formerly used as storage.
Cormier said the centre reflects “a new concept that is really modern, really human and really functional,” not to mention the culmination of years of planning by local managers.
“They wanted to build something that was different and was downtown,” he said. “It will also add nearly 40 employees, who will work here in this centre and contribute to revitalizing this neighbourhood of Sudbury. This is also part of our purpose — to see that we can contribute to a vibrant community.”
For clients, the centre means a “one-stop shopping” experience, where “you can have access to all the services, products and expertise that you need,” the CEO said.
The opening of the centre also dovetails with the merger of 11 Voyageur Credit Unions (or Caisses Populaire) in the province, he noted.
The previously autonomous credit unions “decided in November, after a quite decisive vote by the members, that it would be better for the next few years to work together as one team, one caisse, in Ontario,” said Cormier. “This merger is quite outstanding from my perspective.”
Jean-Marc Spencer, Voyageurs Credit Union director, said the new centre will allow the organization to “maintain its growth,” at the same time as “bring the co-operative community together and continue to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the people in the community.”
Spencer said there are three Voyageurs Credit Unions in Sudbury, along with eight more in other parts of the province, comprising 50 branches altogether.
“They are merging Jan. 1 to become one entity called Caisse Desjardins Ontario Credit Union,” he said.
He said clients can look forward to more flexibility of service, including the ability to access funds and arrange loans in other areas of the province.
“They’ll be recognized as a member of Desjardins regardless of where they go,” he said. “Before they would say you have to go your branch, but that will no longer be the case.”
The amalgamation also allows for a new profit-sharing initiative, he noted.
“If you have a mortgage with us, or an investment with us, you can get cash back,” he said. “With banks the profits go as dividends to shareholders, but we don’t have shareholders, so with us it goes back to the community and to members.”
Spencer noted the Voyageurs Credit Union alone contributed $2.2 million last year to the community, and earlier in the day on Monday, Desjardins contributed $300,000 to Laurentian University.
Richard Dupuis, director of the Desjardins Business Centre, noted the new headquarters on Elm Street was part of the organization’s strategic plan for the last five years.
“We are overjoyed to finally see it come to life,” he said. “The space is easily accessible and provides a welcoming environment that is perfect for meetings in the comfort and privacy our members have come to expect.”
He also pointed out there are seven parking spaces available for members in front of the centre.
Dupuis said it was exciting to add a new element to the city’s core and join other businesses in keeping the area vibrant.
“There is a buzz going on downtown,” he said. “And we are happy to be part of it.”
Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins Group, raises his glass in a toast at the official opening of the new Desjardins Centre in downtown in Sudbury, Ont. on Monday May 6, 2019.
An audience looks on at the official opening of the new Desjardins Centre in downtown in Sudbury, Ont. on Monday May 6, 2019.