Desjardins Group was founded in 1900 by the couple Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins, who made it their life mission to dedicate proper financial and monetary services to their community in Quebec, Canada. It started with a single caisse of a hundred members, a financial institution or group owned by its members rather than shareholders.
By 1979, the “Caisse Centrale Desjardins” (CCD) marked the centralization of various local caisses into the group. CCD then became the financial agent to the international markets. Since then the Desjardins Group continued to expand their services from the establishment of their own ATMs, affiliations and merging with other local caisses, the establishment of their own insurance, and launching of their own website (Desjardins.com). In 2020, they reflect on their 120-year journey to recapture the purpose of their founders and highlight their successes. Service and cooperation to the community remain to be their fundamental vision and mission in creating changes and exploring innovations for the group.
Driven by the purpose of putting its members’ interests as their top priority, the Desjardins group keeps its own exchange rates for its members. Their money transfer options observe different fees across various options.
As of May 28, 2021, the Desjardins Group’s USD (US Dollar) to CAD (Canadian Dollar is 1.178, while their EUR to CAD is 1.4137. Their website contains a sample currency converter calculator for illustration purposes for their members. While the currency conversions update regularly, they explicitly state that the rates displayed are for information purposes only.
The Desjardins Group offers their members four (4) transaction plans, which is based on the number of transactions a member usually does in a month. Those plans are (1) Basic, (2) Intermediate, (3) Unlimited, and (4) Unlimited Plus. The Basic and Intermediate transaction plan only offers up to 12 and 30 transactions for free per month, respectively. The Unlimited and Unlimited Plus, as the name implies, places unlimited free transactions with more advantages for Unlimited Plus. The free transactions covered depending on the type of transaction plan are attributed to the monthly fees a member must pay or the minimum monthly balance that a member must maintain.
When a member exceeds the number of free transactions in a month, per transaction, they will be asked for an additional fee of USD 1.25 or USD 1.50 for those who hold “High-Yield” accounts. The policies of the transaction plan and these additional fees only apply to local transfers. Most local transfers are done with the Interac e-transfer either through the Desjardins Group’s website or their app.
For international transfers, the fees range from USD 4.00 to USD 15.00 depending on the country’s destination and the method of transfer. Direct deposit transfers are cheaper than SWIFT transfers, but the latter option offers more country destinations.
For international money transfers, the Desjardins Group’s transfer fees are relatively fixed in the range of USD 4.00 to USD 15.00, only adjusting with the fluctuations of the currencies. Comparing this service with Wise, WorldRemit, and CurrenciesDirect, the Desjardins Group’s transfer fees come out as a cheaper option. Wise and CurrenciesDirect use percentages based on the total amount sent to be added on top of a baseline fee. WorldRemit’s transfer fees range from USD 3.99 to USD 24.99 depending on the destination country.
For local money transfers, most Canada-based banks use Interac e-transfer as with the Desjardins Group. The huge advantage that comes with transacting with the Desjardins Group using this option is choosing the transaction plan fit for their member’s number of transactions done per month. This gives the member an option to opt for up to unlimited free local transfers a month given a monthly payment to pay or a maintaining balance to keep.
International money transfers with the Desjardins Group present more pros than cons due to their convenience and transfer fees.
The Desjardins Group offers many options for international money transfers to various destination countries. A member might even find the group’s fees cheaper than the other international money transfer services due to their fixed rate of fees.
|Caisse Centrale Desjardins||Canada||Montreal|
|Federation De Caisses Populaires Desjardins De Montreal||Canada||Montreal|
|Caisse Desjardins Des Chutes Montmorency||Canada||Quebec|
For personal accounts and business accounts opening, filling out the website online form is enough. The estimated duration for opening personal accounts can take up to 10 minutes. A client can also do this opening by making an appointment to a caisse either by the website or the phone. However, business accounts may take up to two days before activation even after filling out the form. This gives time for a Desjardins advisor to reach out to the client and complete the process of opening an account.
For joint accounts, third-party accounts, and newcomer accounts, the account opening starts with filling out an online form, but clients who open these accounts will be required to come to any caisse for further finalizations before becoming an official member. Newcomer accounts are still allowed to deposit money to their accounts prior to their arrival to Canada, and will still need finalization upon arrival to the country.
Local fund transfers can be done from Desjardins ATM or through the AccèsD. The AccèsD uses Interac e-transfer for real-time transactions limited to USD 5000 for members aged 18 or above and USD 1000 for minors.
The process of opening an account with the Desjardins group depends on the type of account a client seeks to avail. Personal, business and newcomer accounts can all be opened by accomplishing the given online form at the Desjardins Group website. For business accounts, further validation will be done by a Desjardins advisor two days within the accomplishment of the online form. For newcomer accounts, further validation will be required upon arrival in Canada.
For other accounts, such as joint accounts and third-party accounts, accomplishing the online form will only mark a step in the opening process. Setting an appointment at any caisse is required to finalize the opening of the said accounts.
The Desjardins Group allows both local and international transfers through online or in-person banking. Local money transfers can be done through a branch, an ATM, or online. The online option uses Interac e-transfer which features real-time money transfer after a transaction. International money transfers can happen in two ways: (1) direct deposits, or (2) SWIFT transfers. The processing time for direct deposits can take from 12 hours to 4 business days, and the processing time for SWIFT transfers happens within 2 business days. Either of the two can be done in a caisse or through a member’s AccèsD.
The Desjardins Group continues to highlight its mission of helping the community in their financial needs through its additional services on top of their personal and business account offerings. The group also offers wealth management services, such as helping members plan for retirement, start investing, learning real estate, and tax planning. The use of credit cards, knowledge about lines of credit, personal loans and mortgages are also additional services the group offers for their members.
Since the group offers various products, they recommend members or potential clients to contact their customer service and possibly talk to their different advisors which can further help and deepen members’ interests and knowledge about managing their life’s finances.
Due to the large coverage of products and services, the Desjardins Group divides their contact by phone into different numbers depending on the member’s concern. Other methods include, such as live chat (available only on weekdays, 9 AM to 4:30 PM), filling out their online inquiry forms, and using the AccèsD message box (for members only). Their website contains the library of contact details divided by the nature of the inquiry.
Yes. The Desjardins Group can be used for international bank transfers. In order to accomplish an international money transfer, the group offers two ways: (1) direct deposits and (2) SWIFT transfers. The service fees and processing time vary for both options depending on the destination country of the money sent. Additional service fees can be charged if the member demands the bank for follow-up of the transaction status, or for correction or refund of the money transfers.
The Desjardins Group abides by its mission to serve the community as reflected and advertised by its products and services. Their focus also extends to the potential members as they offer services for opening accounts for newcomers to Canada. On top of their banking services, they encourage members to consult with their advisers in opening and managing their accounts. The group displays their transparency to their members on their website by laying out all of their fees and banking processes for the guidance of their members. The group opens their Annual General Meetings every spring to every member and calls for their participation for the opportunity to impact youth-oriented projects sponsored by the caisses in various communities. Every member may even receive member dividends under certain conditions.
In cases of interest, questions, or concerns, the website of the Desjardins group lays out its library of customer service options to address different concerns. All of their frequently asked questions and services offered can also be found on their website.
The key questions below address pertinent concerns a member might face upon banking with the Desjardins Group. Due to the large customer base of the group within Canada and in other countries, they cover most, if not all, of a member’s banking needs.