Big day for Voyageur, down­town

The Sudbury Star - - FRONT PAGE - JIM MOODIE

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.”

JOHN LAPPA

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.

JOHN LAPPA

An au­di­ence looks on at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the new Des­jardins Cen­tre in down­town in Sud­bury, Ont. on Mon­day May 6, 2019.

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