Desjardins Group, Canada’s largest cooperative financial institution, has joined the Filene Research Institute as a Gold Benefactor to help examine consumer and policy issues impacting cooperatively held organizations, their owners, and consumers.
Gold Benefactor donors invest $50,000 each year with Filene, according to the institute.
Filene and Desjardins will work together on research and innovation projects that advance the interests of consumers and credit unions, the groups said.
“Desjardins serves its members so well and represents one of the most advanced examples of how cooperative finance can thrive in the modern economy,” said Mark Meyer, CEO of Filene in Madison, Wis.
“We are excited that the research aims of the Desjardins Group align so closely with ours, and we look forward to working together to chart a path for a sustainable cooperative credit union future,” Meyer said.
Monique Leroux, Desjardins chair of the board and president/CEO, is also looking forward to the collaboration.
“Through our actions, we want to create a solid and united cooperative movement. At Desjardins we believe in cooperation. It is in our DNA. It is our past and our future,” Leroux said.
“Filene shares our commitment to creating projects that foster education, cooperation, and personal engagement,” Leroux added.
Meyer said the organizations working together is a renewal of a relationship that began 100 years ago when Edward Filene and Alphonse Desjardins first met to discuss the future of cooperative financial opportunities.
“Although the Canadian and U.S. credit union systems forged different paths, today it is essential to reinvigorate our relationships so that we may more easily collaborate in the future,” Meyer said.
Desjardins has $194 billion in assets, 422 caisses in its network and 5.6 million members throughout Quebec and Ontario, Canada.