Our History: 1930-1977 - Booming Growth
It is at this point of institutional and economic upheaval that the charismatic Homer Bourgeois began his long association with Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. Born in Lowell in 1903, Bourgeois graduated from Lowell High School at age 16. He attended Northeastern University nights and received a degree in finance in 1924. During this time he applied his financial and leadership skills in support of numerous civic and charitable organizations, including the CMAC; the United Fund; and the Masonic Temple. At the June 11, 1930, Credit Union’s directors’ meeting he was elected Treasurer.
Homer Bourgeois guided the Credit Union from the difficulties of the depression to expansion. In June 1936, the Credit Union moved to 738 Merrimack Street, the Archambault Building at the corner of Decatur Street, after negotiating a lease of five years at $30 per month. Beginning in the early 1940s, assets continued to rise; by the fall of 1943 they had reached the $1 million mark. By 1947 Jeanne D’Arc had become the fourth largest credit union in Massachusetts with assets of $2.3 million and again moved its headquarters, returning to the corner of Merrimack and Cabot streets, the site of the Credit Union’s offices from 1918-1923. This time, however, the Credit Union constructed its own building, a solid brick structure that would serve as the only branch for the next 50 years.
Bourgeois used his unique position and power as head of two growing financial institutions, not only to the benefit of their respective depositors and members, but also to advance and raise funds for Franco-American institutions such as Saint Joseph’s Hospital. He also lent his expertise and influence to forge relationships that benefitted a long list of community and business organizations throughout the region. He served as the first chairman of the Lowell Housing Authority in 1937, working to create housing for low-income residents. He served as director of a number of local companies including the Lowell Gas Company, Massachusetts Electric and Prince Macaroni, among others. He worked to promote education as well, focusing his efforts on Lowell Technological Institute, Merrimack College and Rivier College.
Between 1952 and 1962 assets rose modestly from $3.49 million to $5.5 million; by 1972 they had nearly tripled to $14 million.