Accessibility of our products and services

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Distinctive products and services

Accessibility of our products and services

We do our utmost to make it easy for our members and clients to access our products and services. This is reflected in our ongoing commitment to adapting to new trends and innovating in how we do business.

At Desjardins Group, our members and clients can count on:

  • over 1,400 financial planners
  • 313 investment advisors
  • close to 7,500 mutual fund representatives
  • 3,000 personal finance advisors
  • 259 life insurance representatives
  • 212 mortgage representatives
  • 892 business account managers
  • close to 1,200 property and casualty insurance agents
Serving our members and clients in Canada

In Ontario at the end of 2012, the caisse network consisted of:

  • 20 caisses including 41 service centres, for a total of 58 points of service
  • a service agreement with Alliance des caisses populaires de l'Ontario limitée

In other regions of Canada, we build on the synergy between the cooperative community, caisses in Manitoba and Acadia, and our subsidiaries to offer our members and clients the financial products and services they need.

In acquiring Western Financial Group Inc. and MGI Financial Inc. in 2011, Desjardins strengthened its presence across Canada. Western Financial Group Inc. has 128 offices in the western provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. MGI Financial Inc., now Desjardins Financial Security Investments Inc., operates a brokerage network in a number of Canadian provinces, with 145 offices and 242 advisors.

In addition, the Calgary office specializing in capital markets supports our business development endeavours with cooperatives (financial and non-financial) and businesses in western Canada.

Serving our members in the United States

Members who visit or do business in the United States can count on Desjardins’s presence in the United States:

  • Desjardins Bank, National Association
  • Caisse centrale Desjardins US Branch

We are implementing new distribution models to adapt our service offering to our members’ needs. Their needs have substantially changed, shifting from transactions at the teller counter (cheque cashing, deposits) to electronic transactions (virtual transfers, online payments and e-statements).

Online transactions have grown exponentially over the last 10 years, leading to a decline in foot traffic in caisses and at ATMs.

We are aware of communities' concerns when a point of service is closed and we understand the effects on communities. This is why we wasted no time in partnering with local communities to put in place new infrastructures and organizations for our services.

In addition, the Desjardins caisse network has developed a decision-making mechanism. Whenever a point of service may potentially close, this mechanism ensures:

  • an overall assessment of the socio-economic situation of the community in question
  • consultations with the community in order to determine the best possible solution

Since 2011, the Desjardins.com section for newcomers to Canada has featured a caisse locator that lets members choose the language in which they wish to be served. Members can also select a caisse according to 49 different languages, including sign language. Our members also have access to caisses that cater to cultural communities (Chinese, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Ukrainian) with 14 points of service.

Carrefour Desjardins has a team assigned exclusively to helping clients who are newcomers to Canada. Recent immigrants face a number of needs and challenges upon arriving in their adoptive country. They must find housing, food and employment and integrate quickly into their new environment. All of this accelerates their financial lifecycle, which is why we have:

  • relaxed our eligibility requirements for credit, adapted to their needs
  • redesigned the information section on our website for newcomers

See Newcomers to Canada

Recognizing foreign credentials

Desjardins signed a partnership agreement with ACEM (Montreal Community Loan Fund) to establish a pilot project aimed at granting loans for the recognition of credentials.

This project aims to help workers in Greater Montreal who were educated or trained abroad to obtain certificates or training that will provide them with access to regulated professions and occupations in Quebec to secure a job in their field.

Since 2007, the 14 communities of Nunavik have enjoyed access to Desjardins financial services following a pilot project launched by:

  • the Kativik Regional Government
  • the Local Development Centre
  • Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec
  • Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins

On December 31, 2012, there were 4,342 individual members and 75 member organizations.

Five of the 14 villages are served by 7 employees who are either bilingual or trilingual. Our online services round out access to financial services north of the 55th parallel.

Learn more about Desjardins services to Nunavik communities (site in French, English and Inuktitut).

Lastly, the First Nations also have 3 caisses and 3 points of service in their territory. In addition, 36 caisses are located near aboriginal communities.

Whether they prefer to conduct their transactions online or have a tighter budget, our members and clients have easy access to products and services designed to meet their needs. Here are just a few examples:

  • Close to 40,000 pages of information are readable using a text-to-Braille or text-to-speech reader on Desjardins.com in English and in French.
  • 2,500 ATMs are accessible to people with visual impairments and reduced mobility.
  • 432,000 users completed 69 million secure online transactions using Desjardins mobile services in 2012.
  • To make our premises accessible to people with reduced mobility, Desjardins recommends compliance with current regulations and, wherever possible, we use universal design principles to provide safe and barrier-free access to our existing buildings, new construction and network points of service undergoing renovation.
  • Members who are unable to use ATMs due to a permanent disability of any sort are entitled to pay automated service rates even if they conduct their transactions at the teller counter.
  • In 2012, Desjardins was the only financial institution in Canada to offer a transaction plan for less than $3, which enables low-income clients to benefit from financial services.