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Desjardins Group

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The Desjardins Group (or Mouvement des caisses Desjardins in French) is the largest association of credit unions in North America. It was founded in 1900 in Lévis, Quebec by Alphonse Desjardins.

Located mostly in Quebec as well as in Ontario, Manitoba, and New Brunswick, it is a federation of 376 local Caisses populaires Desjardins, which serve 5.8 million members.

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.[2] Most of the latter sum was used on regional economic development and health programs as well.

The Desjardins Group has over 20 subsidiaries offering products and services related to insurance (Desjardins Financial Security, Desjardins General Insurance), real estate (Place 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.

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 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.[3]

In 2011, Desjardins Credit Union in Ontario merged with Meridian Credit Union.[4]

Desjardins is a member of Interac, the NYCE ATM Network and also issues house-branded VISA credit cards.

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