The Caisse populaire de Hearst, from 1944
The Caisse populaire de Hearst was established at a time when the french speaking population of the region was experiencing sustained growth due to the colonization trend which saw many Quebeckers move to parcels of land given to them by the government. Following the 1929 economic crisis, many people left the cities to try their hand at farming. They were hoping to find, especially in Northern Ontario, rich farmlands that would provide them with some security. The forest resources also attracted a lot of industries to the region. The farmers had no purchasing power and no means to market their goods due to the controlling powers of the local merchants. A group of farmers gathered to discuss their inability to control their destinies. Thus, the idea of a co-operative was born on February 24, 1944. Approximately forty individuals met in a general assembly. Their specific objective was to create the Caisse populaire de Hearst limitée. After one year of operation, its assets totalled to $10 865. That’s how it all began.
In 1966, twenty-two years later, the Caisse purchased a lot at 908 Prince Street.
In March of 1984, the members decided to join L’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario.
On October 28, 1992, the Students’ Financial Co-op was set up at École secondaire catholique de Hearst High School to help the students. Nineteen years later, the Students’ Financial Co-op reports assets of $688 000.
It is also in the co-operative spirit that the Caisse populaire de Hearst opened the Longlac Branch whose operations began on August 20, 1997.
With over 71 years of operation, and a staff of more than 46 employees, your Caisse now serves over 8 000 members and reports assets of more than $226 million dollars without considering the off-balance sheet.