AN ACTIVE AND INVOLVED GROUP. First-quarter achievements included changes to the member dividends, the fundraising campaign for Saint Joseph's Oratory and the Semaine des régions
Assets surpass $300 billion.
$105 million returned to members and the community, an increase of $23 million
Lévis, May 14, 2019 -
For the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, Desjardins Group
, the leading financial cooperative group in Canada, recorded surplus earnings before member dividends of $401 million, down $100 million compared to the same quarter of 2018. Sustained growth in caisse network activities was offset by the performance of the property and casualty insurance segment, whose surplus earnings were down $107 million compared to the same period one year earlier. The segment's higher claims experience, essentially due to difficult weather conditions, contributed to a higher claims frequency compared to the same period of 2018. Furthermore, gains on disposal of securities and real estate investments were less pronounced than in 2018. A profit related to the restructuring of Interac Corp. was also recognized in the first quarter of 2018.
The amount returned to members and the community was $105 million (Q1 2018: $82 million), including a $77 million provision for member dividends (Q1 2018: $50 million), $18 million in sponsorships, donations and scholarships (Q1 2018: $20 million), and $10 million in Desjardins Member Advantages (Q1 2018: $12 million). There was also another $10 million in commitments made in the first quarter of 2019 related to the $100 million regional development fund.
"Difficult weather conditions this winter and spring had a major impact on the performance of our property and casualty insurer, due to a jump in home insurance claims compared to 2018," said President and CEO Guy Cormier. "These difficult conditions are ongoing, and Desjardins is wholeheartedly committed to those affected by the flooding. We are empathetic and attentive to our members and clients in these difficult times and are offering them relief. Despite the impact of weather conditions on our results in property and casualty insurance, Desjardins performed well in the first quarter due to its highly diversified activities and the good results posted by the other business segments. I'm also proud of the growth in member dividends. Our dividends are now more accessible and consistent, and more effectively recognize member loyalty. Starting this year, 840,000 more members will receive a dividend."
Giving back to the community
In addition to the sustained commitment of the caisses in the communities they serve, here are some of the other ways that Desjardins is making a positive difference in people's lives:
- We launched the new dividend to better recognize member loyalty.
- As part of our sustainable development initiatives, Desjardins Group has stopped using plastic water bottles, representing a reduction of over 100,000 bottles per year.
- Guy Cormier has been appointed chair of the fundraising campaign for Saint Joseph's Oratory, whose funds will help preserve this heritage building and improve the visitor experience.
- Once again, Guy Cormier was Honorary Chair of Semaine des régions, an event organized by Place aux jeunes en région. Young people and the regions are priorities for Desjardins Group.
- In addition to making a donation to the Red Cross, Desjardins has implemented tailored solutions to provide financial relief to members and clients affected by the spring flooding. Also, 500 employees have offered to be ready to support Red Cross efforts on the ground.
At Desjardins, we are constantly innovating to meet the needs of our members and clients. Here are just a few examples of our recent initiatives and the recognition we've received for our expertise.
- Desjardins is now available on Google Assistant, representing a new way for members to quickly get reliable information, wherever they are and whenever they want.
- Partnership with Polytechnique Montréal for a research program in cybersecurity.
- Renewal and improvement of the Startup in residence program. Desjardins will concentrate on the FinTech world in order to support young businesses in this industry.
- According to a recent survey by Brendan Wood International, Desjardins Global Asset Management is one of Canada's 10 best equity managers (eighth place) due to its expertise in Canadian equities.
- Launch of the Carrefour d'entrepreneuriat et d'innovation Desjardins so that students and new graduates of Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) can count on a major ally for carrying out their business projects.