Our History: 2007-Present - Making and Revisiting History
With Paul Mayotte preparing for retirement, the Credit Union again broke with tradition and began a two-year search process to find a successor. Replacing Mayotte, who had guided the credit union through a period of tremendous growth and changes in both the economy and credit union industry with financial acumen and a personal touch, presented a challenge. The board of directors, after establishing specific goals and criteria, took up the challenge and in August 2007 appointed Mark S. Cochran as Jeanne D’Arc’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.
Cochran, who holds an economics degree from Rutgers University and an MBA in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson, brought fresh energy and ideas to spur new growth while reaching back to Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s history and traditions in re-establishing the Credit Union’s image and brand.
Cochran quickly established an active and engaged presence within the Credit Union as well as the community. He moved forward with plans for a new headquarters at Tremont Place and, with his marketing team, undertook a remaking of the Credit Union’s marketing and branding strategies, re-launching the institution’s name as Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, developing a new logo that included an updated image of Joan of Arc and a new positioning line, “we share a common thread”, that links the credit union’s history with the community’s. The campaign utilizes historic images of Jeanne D’Arc’s Franco-American roots as well as the city’s industrial and cultural past.
Echoing Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s long held mission, Cochran describes the strategy as “going back to the simplicity of our name and roots…trying to help people of modest means save and better themselves.” He adds that he “saw potential for market share, great potential in traditional area and membership of Lowell and immediate surrounding towns.”
By October 2007 the Credit Union completed another conversion to a new computer system and in November opened a new branch office in Methuen, two projects begun under President Mayotte. Meanwhile, new products and growth strategies were being developed. In February 2008, a 7.00% savings rate on the first $500.00 on savings accounts was announced. By May 9, Money Market balances had reached $100 million, doubling since January 1, and one month later a new Dracut branch officially opened on Bridge Street. In August 2008, the Commissioner of Banks approved the Credit Union’s new headquarters at Tremont Yard. Developed by board member William Soucy of Soucy Industries, the new building quickly took shape and in September 2009 corporate offices, the call center and computer operations consolidated in the striking glass and brick tower. On March 16, 2010, the Credit Union opened its fourth high school branch in Methuen High School.
Despite the historic economic downturn that began in the fall of 2008, assets grew dramatically, rising from just over $600 million in August 2007 to over $844 million as of March 2010. True to its cooperative credit roots, however, the Credit Union remains focused on its members.
“History has a way of repeating itself,” said Cochran. “We were founded by immigrant members of the Franco-American population to provide for their community’s benefit. And while Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union continues to serve descendants of those founding members, we’ve evolved and now welcome Lowell’s newest immigrants as members and embrace the opportunity to provide them with the latest financial tools they need. Establishing our new headquarters in the heart of the city was a conscious decision. This has always been home—we look out from our new offices not only to our past but also to our future.”
As to that future, Cochran said, “We’re definitely a billion dollar operation ready to happen.”