The Caisse populaire de Verner limitée holds a very important place in our community. It is with the determination and hard work of several people that it was created.
The cooperative movement was studied in 1943 by a group of people the Beaudry, Sylvestre, Poitras, Cazabon and Lafreniere to name a few in order to create a caisse populaire in Verner.
Bishop Oscar Racette was always present at every meeting. He was the essence of his parishioners.
The Caisse populaire de Verner limitée was founded on March 16, 1945 after two years of studies. It was incorporated on May 31, 1945.
The first administrator and the first bank manager were Mr. Ernest Beaudry and Mr. Marius Poitras respectively. Mr. Poitras was also secretary for the Caldwell Township and received the clients at his office.
After the first three years of operations, the Caisse had 261 members and assets of $48,943.
Mr. Marius Poitras became manager of the agricultural Cooperative therefore relieving his position as board member to Mr. Oscar Piette. The Caisse moved its operations in the store of the Cooperative. Mrs. Paulette Paquette was hired as cashier.
In 1956, with assets of over $147,000, Mr. Ernest Lajeunesse was hired. His tasks involved those of manager, cashier and secretary. Even with his hands full, his clients were well served. He was recognized and respected as a devoted pioneer. In 1989, he received the Merit award for the Ontario Cooperatives for his twenty years of service in this area of business.
He devoted his time and energy in searching for a new location since this one was no longer feasible.
After much debate, the board acquired Mr. Poitras’ building. On September 1st, 1958, the Caisse moved into this new building located in the heart of town on Principale Street. With this move, the Caisse hired another employee to help Mr. Lajeunesse. The assets proved to be positive and have continued to grow since.
In 1964, the Caisse reached a half-million in assets. Any doubts about the profitability of the Caisse ceased. Assets reached a phenomenal $1 million only four years later.
Once the Caisse expanded its offices, it was able to hire a second cashier. In 1970, the Caisse de Lavigne joined the Caisse de Verner with assets of $120, 000.
In 1974, with assets close to $3 million, the Caisse decided to construct a new building which would be adjacent to the Cooperative. The move took place on February 1st, 1976. The grand opening was on May 9th with Bishop Gerard Dionne blessing the new building and Federal Deputy Mr. Jean-Jacques Blais cutting the ribbon.
Like any other institution, the 1980’s proved to be tough times with the recession. Even with high interest rates and slow growth the Caisse managed well.
With encouraging members, dedicated employees and the well managed board of directors with Mr. Gerard Miron presiding, the Caisse surmounted these challenges.
The board members are constantly looking at ways to improve the Caisse.
L’Alliance des Caisses populaires de l’Ontario limitée was founded in 1987 and the Caisse populaire de Verner limitée was the first to join the group on October 3rd of the same year.
In 1989, the Caisse populaire de Verner limitée received the Richard Beaudoin award for most improved increase in investments. The assets had a growth of 21 %.
Due to the growing concerns of the Warren farming sector, the board conducted studies on the profitability of opening a branch in Warren. After almost a full year of studies, the branch opened on September 23rd, 1990.
In 1990, assets had reached 18 million $. The board decided to renovate its branches. The grand opening took place in October 1991. These renovations would surely fulfill client demands for upcoming years.
The Caisse was awarded the Richard Beaudoin trophy for a second time when assets grew 21.3 % in 1994. Mr. Gilles Lepage, an employee since 1965, and general manager since 1979, decided to retire this same year. Mr. Lionel Bouchard was appointed new general manager until the year 2000.
March 16th, 1995 marked the 50th anniversary of the Caisse. To celebrate this event, activities were organized throughout the year. Mrs. Gabrielle Gagnon had produced a book in regards to this event. Assets had doubled in the past 5 years to reach $37 million on August 31st, 1995.
$1,000,000 in preferred shares was sold as a new product offered by the Caisse in 1998. All shares were sold within 10 days which demonstrates the members’ loyalty toward the Caisse.
Assets were now $53.5 million in 2000. An amount of $280,000 was distributed as dividends to its members. Another $1,000,000 in preferred shares was sold. Once again, it proved to be a great seller.
On January 2001, Mr. Serge Caron, an employee since 1995, accepted the position of general manager.
As of December 2007, the assets rose to $97 million. The staff at the Caisse counts 23 employees.
Since 2001, more than $2.7 million have been distributed in dividends and bonuses to its members.
To better serve its clients and accommodate the growing staff, the Caisse succumbed to major renovations in 2009. New offices were created, a handicap ramp was installed and the commercial department was moved to the second floor.
The Caisse lost a valuable employee, Mr. Jocelyn Guenette in November 2009. Two previous general managers have also passed away, Mr. Ernest Lajeunesse in December of 2009 and Mr. Gilles Lepage in March 2009.
Even through the difficult economic times, the Caisse still continues to grow and assets are now close to $125,000,000.
As of today, the Caisse has 22 employees at the head office and 4 employees at the branch in Warren.