Desjardins Group

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Desjardins Group
Industry Financial services
Founded 1900 in Levis, Quebec
Headquarters Levis, Quebec, Canada
Key people
Guy Cormier, President & chief executive officer
Products Chequing Accounts
Stock brokerage
Investment Bank
Asset-based lending
Consumer finance
Total assets $282,0 billion CAD[1] (2017)
Number of employees
47,655 (2017)

The Desjardins Group (French: Mouvement des caisses Desjardins) is the largest federation of credit unions in North America, and is counted among the World's Strongest Banks according to the Banker magazine.[2] It was founded in 1900 in Levis, Quebec by Alphonse Desjardins.[3] Its legal headquarter remains in Lévis but most of the executive management, including the CEO, is based in Montréal.[4]

As of 2017, there is 293 local credit unions (French: caisses populaires) operating 1032 point of service and serving more than 7 million members and clients, mostly in Quebec and Ontario.[5]

In addition to retail banking, the Group has over 20 subsidiaries offering products and services related to insurance (Desjardins Financial Security, Desjardins General Insurance), real estate (Complexe Desjardins), venture capital funds (Desjardins Venture Capital) and brokerage (Desjardins Securities). The Desjardins Group, through subsidiary Développement international Desjardins, is also active in over 50 developing countries through technical assistance programs and various investments.


After studying European credit institutions born in the 19th century, Alphonse Desjardins in 1901 came up an original solution adapted to North America.[3] The basic principles are:[citation needed]

  • Each local caisse is owned by its members and works for their financial success.
  • Each member has one share and one vote. (Therefore, a caisse cannot be bought by another financial institution, which also would be restricted to one share and one vote.)
  • The caisses are devoted to regional economic development.

Desjardins Group began large-scale expansion outside the province of Quebec in 1992 when it opened the Desjardins Bank in Florida to cater to southbound Quebecers, particularly snowbirds and retirees. This practice has also been adopted by a number of other Canadian banks.

In the late 1990s, under the leadership of CEO Claude Béland, certains aspects of the caisse's management were centralized to the head office, and their number was reduced from 1275 to 800.[6]

Between 2008 and 2010, total assets at Desjardins Group grew over 15% from C$151.9 billion (when it ranked sixth in Canada and first in Quebec among financial institutions ahead of the National Bank of Canada) to over $175 billion in 2010. In 2006, it had 6,500 elected and volunteer officers and employed over 40,000 people and gave its members $483 million in patronage allocations and $64 million in donations, sponsorships and academic scholarships.[7] Most of the latter sum was used on regional economic development and health programs as well. In that same year, in March 2008, the election of Monique Leroux at the head of the group marked the history of Canada by becoming the "Canada's largest company headed by a woman".[8]

In December 2010, it acquired the 121 offices and 500,000 customers of Western Financial for $443 million giving it a presence in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.[9]

In 2011, Desjardins Credit Union in Ontario merged with Meridian Credit Union.[10]

In 2014, Desjardins Group acquired the canadian operations of State Farm.[11] The policies were transferred to be underwritten by Desjardins Insurance on January 1, 2015. The State Farm brand continued to be used for agents and marketing until 2018.[12]

On January 3, 2017, Desjardins Group announced the closing of the sale of its pet health insurance company, Western Financial Insurance Company to Economical Mutual Insurance Company ([citation needed] Western Financial Insurance Company and its flagship brand, Petsecure were purchased in 2011 as part of the Western Financial Group deal.

On July 5, 2017, Trimont Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wawanessa Mutual Insurance Company, announced the completion of its purchase of the remainder of Western Financial Group from Desjardins Group for $775 million. Included in the sale were Western Financial Group's Brokerage Network, Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions, and Western Life Assurance (

In 2018, State Farm Canada was officially rebranded to Desjardins Insurance through Desjardins Agents. The whole transition will be completed by December 31 in 2019.[13]

Key dates[14]

1900: Alphonse Desjardins founds the first cooperative credit union in North America, Caisse Populaire de Lévis.

1913: Establishment of the first caisse ("branch") to incorporate Desjardins name into its own.

1920: The first regional union of caisses is formed in Trois-Rivières.

1932: The four existing regional unions join together to create the Fédération de Québec des Unions Régionales des Caisse Populaires Desjardins.

1944: Mouvement Desjardins enters the personal insurance market with the creation of Société d'Assurance des Caisses Populaires

1962: The group acquires the life insurance firm La Sauvegarde, and the following year acquires Société de Fiducie de Québec.

1974: The launch of the Société d'Investissement Desjardins after passage of special legislation by the Quebec government in 1971.

1979: The group absorbs the Credit Union Federation, then the Quebec Credit Union League.

1988: The Savings and Credit Union Act enables group to reorganize its operations into subsidiaries and holding companies.

1994: The Laurentian Group is acquired, creating the Desjardins-Laurentian group, which is listed on the Toronto stock exchange.

1999: Group members vote to unify 11 existing federations into a single, centrally operating federation.

2001: The group announces merger agreement between Imperial Life and Desjardins-Laurentian.

Credit agency ratings

As of September 2017, Desjardins long-term debt is rated Aa2 by Moody's, A+ by S&P, AA by DBRS, and AA- by Fitch. S&P and Fitch considered the company's outlook "stable," while Moody's and DBRS rated it "negative."[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ "Desjardins Figures". Desjardins Group. 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-27.
  2. ^ "La Caisse and Desjardins Group announce the creation of a FinTech fund". Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec | CDPQ | Long-term institutional investor | Asset manager. 2017-10-09. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Joseph E. (Oct–Nov 2017). "Titans". Canada's History. 97 (5): 47-53. ISSN 1920-9894.
  4. ^ Couture, Pierre (2016). "Desjardins dirigé de Montréal". Le Journal de Québec.
  5. ^ "Desjardins en chiffres". 2017.
  6. ^ Bérubé, Gérard (2015). "L'âme de Desjardins" (in French). Le Devoir.
  7. ^ "Monique F. Leroux Becomes First Woman Elected as President and CEO of Desjardins Group" (Press release). Canada NewsWire. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  8. ^ Jacquie, McNish (24 February 2011). "Desjardins' quiet revolution". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  9. ^ Noah Buhayar (24 December 2010). "Desjardins to Acquire Western Financial for $439 Million, Expand in Canada". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  10. ^ Barbara Shecter and John Greenwood (1 March 2011). "Meridian, Desjardins agree to merger". National Post. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  11. ^ "Montreal's Desjardins Group takes over State Farm Canada | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  12. ^ "Change | Desjardins Insurance". Desjardins Agents. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  13. ^ "State Farm brand in Canada to become Desjardins Insurance". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  14. ^ "Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins -- Company History". Retrieved 2018-06-22.

External links

  • Official website
  • Quick Facts about Desjardins
  • Branch Locator
  • Développement international Desjardins (DID)
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