News

Better customer service goal of bank merger

Laura Barton

By Laura Barton, Tribune Staff

At a special general meeting, Desjardins members and shareholders decided to merge Caisse populaire Welland and Caisse populaire Pointe-aux-Roches-Tecumseh. Starting January 2017, the two will be known as Caisse populaire Sud-Ouest Ontario. Supplied photo.

At a special general meeting, Desjardins members and shareholders decided to merge Caisse populaire Welland and Caisse populaire Pointe-aux-Roches-Tecumseh. Starting January 2017, the two will be known as Caisse populaire Sud-Ouest Ontario. Supplied photo.

Two of Desjardins credit unions are marching together starting next year in an effort to offer better service to their customers.

After a special general meeting held Sept. 19 and 20 between members and shareholders at Desjardins, Caisse populaire Welland and Caisse populaire Pointe-aux-Roches-Tecumseh in south western Ontario are joining to become Caisse populaire Sud-Ouest Ontario.

Welland’s general manager Sylvie Cloutier said this is an exciting opportunity.

“The employees are happy to work for a bigger caisse,” she said.

The new credit union is only new in name because it will still have the locations customers are used to, but it will encompass Fort Erie, Hamilton, Windsor and all the cities in between.

Cloutier said none of the employees are going to lose their jobs. Instead, they are to receive more training in specialized services to better serve the customers.

Customers won’t be affected by this merger.

“Our goal was to be (a) bigger caisse populaire and (the) strongest caisse populaire,” she said.

With that goal, the staff are hoping to grow more in terms of services they can offer and have better engagement in their communities via Desjardins sponsorships.

In the future, they may even be able to grow in terms of how many locations they have, but for now that’s a little too far into the future.

Part of the challenges the company is facing too is keeping up and competing with other big banks and credit unions. Although she said Desjardins is one of the strongest banks in North America, its members and shareholders recognize what needs to be done to stay in that position.

Cloutier said they work to adapt to the needs of the people and the changes in technology and society. She said they “adapt to new market realities.”

With the new credit union, there will be “more complete and specialized offers,” but Cloutier didn’t elaborate on what those were.

Another important factor in the decision making was staying within their communities.

“We want to grow the business in our environment,” she said.

With the big ambitions Cloutier said the credit unions have, it will be interesting to see where they will be in one or even two years’ time.

One thing is for sure, she’s confident they will still be around.

“We will be present tomorrow and the year after,” she said.

Cloutier said Welland’s location will be the head office because of its size and number of employees.

The official switch over is Jan. 1, 2017.

lbarton@postmedia.com 



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