Desjardins to distribute CA $253m to its members in dividends

The amount represents a six-year record

Canadian financial co-op Desjardins Group reported surplus earnings before member dividends of CA $2.33bn (£1.33bn) in 2018, up 8.14% on the previous year.

Due to a strong performance, the co-op will hand out $253m (£144.51m) to its members in dividends, the highest level in six years.

Announcing its annual results for the year ended December 2018, the group revealed the dividend was up 25% from 2017. Desjardins is the largest co-operative financial group in Canada and the largest federation of credit unions in North America.

In addition to the dividends, in 2018 the co-op also provided $94m (£53.69m) in sponsorships, donations and scholarships (Q4 2017: $82m) and $42m (£23.99m) in Desjardins Member Advantages (Q4 2017: $36m).

“I am very proud of Desjardins Group’s performance,” said Guy Cormier, president and chief executive. “Our membership grew at the fastest rate in 10 years, and this includes young adults. Moreover, surplus earnings are growing and living up to our expectations.

“We also received an award from Corporate Knights for our new ETFs and SocieTerra fund, underscoring Desjardins Group’s leadership in achieving the objectives of the Paris Accord. I don’t think there is any doubt that efforts to continually strengthen our member and client culture and our digital shift have a lot to do with the remarkable results last year.”

Desjardins’ Property and Casualty Insurance division reported a surplus of $173m (£98.82m), down from $446m (£254.76m) in 2017 due to an increase in claims from drivers as well as those affected by last spring’s floods in Quebec. However, the co-op maintains a total capital ratio of 17.6% at December 31, 2018.

Operating income also went up by 7.2% to $16.56bn (£9.46bn) while total assets increased by 7.4% since 2017 to A $295.5bn (£168.79bn). Desjardins says this growth was largely due to the increase in net loans and acceptances, as well as securities, including securities borrowed or purchased under reverse purchase agreements. Desjardins added 50,000 new members in 2018.