AN ACTIVE AND INVOLVED GROUP. Éditions La Presse published Desjardins: Together for 120 Years, a book that traces the history, highlights, development and importance of the cooperative in people's lives and hearts. The book provides clear proof that the cooperative model, as represented by Desjardins, is more relevant than ever.
Desjardins posts excellent financial results for the first quarter of 2021
Lévis, May 13, 2021 - For the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, Desjardins Group, North America's leading financial cooperative group, recorded surplus earnings before member dividends of $798 million, up $513 million from the same quarter of 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, the growth in surplus earnings was mainly due to a decline in the provision for credit losses, good performance from the caisse network and a lower auto insurance loss experience in the Property and Casualty Insurance segment. It's worth noting that surplus earnings for the first quarter of 2020 were affected by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The provision for credit losses was affected by the deterioration in the economic outlook, and provisions were recognized in travel insurance.
Desjardins Group continues to be a very strong financial institution that has demonstrated its ability to support its members and clients despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first quarter of 2021, the provision for member dividends was $90 million, up $13 million from the same period in 2020. Sponsorships, donations and scholarships were $12 million, including $5 million from caisse Community Development Funds, while $4 million was paid out through the Desjardins Member Advantages program. This amounted to a total of $106 million returned to members and the community, which is relatively unchanged from what was recorded for the same period in 2020. In the first quarter of 2021, Desjardins also announced $7 million in commitments related to the GoodSpark Fund which seeks in particular to provide social and economic support to the regions.
"Desjardins began the first quarter of 2021 with solid financial results despite the background of economic uncertainty stemming from the pandemic," said Desjardins President and CEO Guy Cormier. "I am proud of our results and the efforts made by the whole Desjardins team. We are very well positioned to proactively respond to the needs of our members and clients, as well as our communities. In addition, we responded to the government's invitation to limit the spread of COVID-19 by adding the Cité de la coopération, in Lévis, to the list of vaccination sites."
COVID-19: Desjardins Group supports its members and clients and takes part in the vaccination effort
Desjardins rolled out a many relief measures to support members and clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main relief measures, which were implemented on March 16, 2020, are still in place and have been further developed to offer solutions for members and clients in financial difficulty at any time, regardless of their circumstances. Desjardins seeks to support members and clients experiencing financial hardship by offering them the solutions that best meet their needs at the times they need them most.
From the start of the pandemic in 2020 up to March 31, 2021, Desjardins Group received a total of 368,083 requests for payment deferrals on Desjardins financing products. Of this amount, 165,825 requests concerned credit cards and other personal financing. A total of 167,675 requests were also received for payment deferrals on residential mortgages and consumer loans, including 147,355 relating to mortgages. Meanwhile, requests for payment deferrals on business loans totalled 34,583.
For business owners, we also introduced measures designed to complement government programs. Between the start of the pandemic in 2020 and March 31, 2021, Desjardins Group granted 144,135 loans for a total amount of $4.8 billion in connection with the federal Canada Business Emergency Account (CBEA) program. Under this program, loans are offered on an interest-free basis until December 31, 2022 and at a rate of 5% thereafter.
In 2020, Desjardins granted $155 million in premium rebates to more than 2.1 million auto insurance clients.
In addition, Desjardins recently launched Flexi Visa, a no fee, low rate credit card. This product will provide a longer-term solution to cardholders who need it, at any time.
As of May 18, Desjardins Group will also take part in the vaccination effort, with the Cité de la coopération in Lévis joining the list of COVID-19 vaccination sites. It is important to note that Desjardins will be following the government's directives on vaccination priority and will not give preference to its employees, members or clients.
Support for economic and social recovery
Desjardins is contributing to regional development and economic recovery through both the GoodSpark Fund, which has set aside $250 million to stimulate social and economic activity in communities, and the Momentum Fund for businesses.
Since the creation of the GoodSpark Fund, Desjardins has committed a total of $130 million to 567 projects. Meanwhile, the Momentum Fund has also supported 676 businesses for a total outlay of close to $4 million.
Giving back to the community
During this pandemic, Desjardins has been more involved than ever in people's lives and continues to support initiatives for diversity, inclusion and cooperation. Here are some of the ways that Desjardins is making a positive difference in people's lives since the first quarter of 2021:
- Partnership with Montréal International to develop an online tool for recruiting foreign workers to meet the pressing labour needs in the metropolitan area. Desjardins' multilingual team provides tailored support to newcomers to help them integrate.
- Launch of Desjardins, Together for 120 Years, a book that traces the history, development and importance of Desjardins in Québec, the rest of Canada and internationally. Organized into thematic chapters, it eloquently presents the highlights of Desjardins Group over time, demonstrating its current ambitions and its importance in the lives and hearts of people.
- Guy Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, also continues to be involved in Academos. After becoming its first sponsor in 2020, he will now take on the role of mentor. Mr. Cormier will talk with young people about his experiences and listen to their concerns about their careers and the rapidly changing job market.
Desjardins is constantly innovating to meet the needs of its members and clients in an environment where the pandemic is still with us. Here are just a few examples since the first quarter of 2021:
- Launch of Desjardins RI Emerging Markets Low CO2, a new exchange traded fund (ETF). This fund complements the range of ETFs with a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional market indexes. It also confirms our position as a leader in the Canadian market for responsible investment solutions.
- Launch of the new Omni mobile app, which gives users access to their Desjardins group insurance and retirement savings plans. Omni users can quickly and easily submit health insurance claims, conduct transactions for their group retirement savings plans and access helpful tools and resources right from their mobile device.
- New version of Ajusto from Desjardins Insurance to recognize users for good driving habits and encourage them to think about safety first when behind the wheel.
- Implementation of an ambitious plan for Desjardins to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 in its extended operations and in its financing and capital investment activities in 3 carbon-intensive sectors: energy, transportation and real estate. This plan includes building a $2 billion investment portfolio in renewable energy infrastructure (a 66% increase over 2020).