Desjardins Group plans to reduce its service centers and ATMs by 30% by 2027.
Spokesman Jean-Benoît Turcotti said the boards of directors that oversee the more than 200 credit unions that make up the organization made the decision after analyzing the frequency of use of the points of sale.
Desjardins says it will be up to these boards to decide which centers and ATMs in Quebec and Ontario will close, because they are best placed to assess the needs of their communities.
Turcotti says the figures, first reported by The suncould change depending on how many people use in-person services versus digital platforms.
In October, the Montreal-based financial services conglomerate said it lay off nearly 400 peopleor about 0.6 percent of its workforce, due to what it describes as the “current economic environment.”
At a time when financial transactions are increasingly being done online or by card, Desjardins has already closed several dozen service points and ATMs since 2022.
Desjardins says that at the end of last year, its 669 service counters accounted for just 1 percent of transaction volume, while its 1,559 ATMs accounted for 3 percent.
In an interview on the Radio-Canada show All one morning On Wednesday, Nathalie Larue, executive vice-president of personal services at Desjardins, indicated that members are increasingly using online tools.
“We saw significant increases during the pandemic, even though it was a trend that had been going on for several years,” Larue said.
The growing demand from Desjardins customers for online appointments rather than branch visits also explains this decision, Larue said.
Concern for seniors who rely on services
Regarding the closures themselves, Desjardins has not established a list of service centers and ATMs that will be closed.
When Desjardins removes either a service center or an ATM, it is because it notices that its use no longer justifies its maintenance, explained Mr. Larue.
Guy Hallé is one of those who fear that Desjardins will close its local access points in Estrie. He added that it would be difficult for people without computers to carry out banking transactions.
In a press release, an advocacy group for the elderly, the Federation of the Golden Age of Quebec (FADOQ), said the closures will affect those who still rely on in-person services.
The closure of service centers is also regrettable, the press release said, because they contribute to the local economic vitality of communities.
“We have been offering workshops to our members for several years to familiarize them with new information and communication technologies, as well as tips and tricks to help them become more informed digital citizens,” the press release said.
Girard says he has confidence in Desjardins
Concerns have been raised about the impact on smaller communities, where closing ATMs could mean people lose their only access to cash locally.
Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard said Wednesday that it would be more difficult for the regions, but he does not believe that Desjardins will withdraw completely.
“I trust them,” he said. “When we make difficult decisions as a company, we must take into account all stakeholders: the community, employees, members, the interests of Desjardins; This is not an easy task.
Desjardins has always been present in the region and it will continue to be, said Girard.
David Dupuis directs undergraduate studies in economics at the School of Management of the University of Sherbrooke. According to him, this decision is a sign of the times.
“What we are seeing today is a drop in demand for this type of service, and Desjardins is simply reacting to protect its margins,” he declared, emphasizing that this type of decision is not not exclusive to the banking sector, since other industries respond to demand. way in which consumers increasingly access goods and services online rather than in person.