At a time in America when obtaining a loan was difficult for the average family, the founders of OTIS sought to form a cooperative, independent financial institution operated and controlled solely by its local membership.
On April 17, 1954, the first meeting of the founders of OTIS Federal Credit Union was held at Moore’s Hall in Livermore Falls (then known as Union Hall). Inspired by a Permanent Resolution Committee for the International Labor Union meeting, whereby a resolution was proposed to allow labor unions to form credit unions, the founders of OTIS returned from Wisconsin and, after much discussion with their fellow members of the Local 8 Pulp, Sulphite, and Paper Mill Workers, voted to organize a credit union for the workers of Otis Paper Mill and their families.
Elected to the Board of Directors were Roderick Perry, President; Ovila Morin, Vice President; William Sutton, Treasurer; Clarence Fournier, Secretary; and James Dunham, Director. Members of the original Credit Committee members were Reney Therrien, Ralph Beaulieu, and Roland Ouellette. Frances Crosson, Percy Perkins, and Mario Luciano comprised the first Supervisory Committee. Pooling their respective deposits of $5 each, these individuals associated themselves as charter members of OTIS under the provision of the Federal Credit Union Act. An office at the home of William Sutton on High Street in Livermore Falls was opened, and Otis Division FCU was officially born. The first Annual Meeting took place at Moore’s Hall, and a 3% dividend was given at the end of the first year.
The nascent Credit Union occupied various office spaces during its early years, including the basement of Reney Therrien’s home on Otis Street in Chisholm and then later, in 1957, in Therrien’s home on Main Street in Chisholm. By 1965, OTIS’s assets had grown to $1 million, and it had become obvious to the Board that the Credit Union needed to expand if it was to continue to grow and to effectively serve its members. In 1965, the Board determined that OTIS’s current location was lacking in both sufficient office space and parking space, and began to look for a parcel of land to purchase on which a new and enduring facility could be built. The Board examined many potential sites, but eventually settled on the land where the OTIS office remains to this day.
The first meeting in the building that was to be the Credit Union’s new home was held on October 1, 1969. By the end of that year, assets totaled $1,716,500 and membership had grown to 1,992. Within a decade, assets had grown to $7,275,500 and total membership stood at 4,300.
By the end of 1982, the Board of Directors had concluded that the Credit Union had outgrown its current office space, and that an expansion of OTIS was again necessary. As such, the Board concluded that constructing a new building was the only practical long-term solution. An open house at the new 6,800 square foot facility (which had effectively doubled the Credit Union’s office space) was held on March of 1986. Assets at the end of the previous year, 1985, had grown to nearly $21.5 million, and a merger with Friendly Service Credit Union had expanded the OTIS field of membership to fourteen area towns.
In April of 1986, Roland Poirier was hired as manager and later attained the position of President, which he held for 31 years. He was succeeded by current President/CEO Kim Turner upon his retirement in 2018.
By 1994, OTIS’s 40th Anniversary year, a host of new services including night depository, Automated Teller Machines, VISA, safety deposit boxes, direct deposit, share drafts with protection, bill payer service, clubs, money management, real estate, and an OTIS telephone information service had been introduced, making the Credit Union a true, full-service financial center.
In June of 2002, the Credit Union began the process of a $2.4 million expansion. Completed in 2003, the renovation and new 11,000 square foot addition to the OTIS site had again doubled OTIS’s office space. Two more Drive-Up lanes, a Member Resource Room, and a new teller area were among the Credit Union’s new features.
Today, OTIS offers real estate, auto, recreational vehicle, and personal lending; online and mobile banking; a variety of checking, savings, and investment accounts; Visa debit and credit cards; financial planning; and much more. The Credit Union celebrated its 66th Anniversary in 2020. OTIS currently serves more than 11,000 members and holds over $208 million in assets, employing 32 people from Jay and the surrounding area.