Today I was down at the Vancouver Club in Vancouver with 5 other credit unions discussing solutions with a data processing supplier. Usually these meeting are boring. People ask questions and the answers turn into another series of questions and before you know it you are about a mile from where you started. The Desjardins Group were different. They talked about their banking system but they presented a very compelling reason for being a credit union — your competition is the banks, not other credit unions. In B.C. we seem to have lost this focus at times. We compete with each other not noticing that there are banks out there.
Desjardins is the Central organization for Quebec caisses populaires (credit unions). They are the 6th largest financial institution in Canada. By this time next year they will have the largest ATM network in Canada. The key is cooperation. It appears this system has grown by cooperating and doesn’t get sidetracked by anyone. It was refreshing to hear why things were actually working. It was refreshing to hear about solutions that were formed out of credit union needs, not because someone in a powerful position wanted it that way. I look forward to hearing more from this organization. I just wish all credit union could come to the table with this type of mindset.