Canadian coop Desjardins expands (with a little help from the French)

An interesting bit of news comes in from across the Pond:  the Canadian cooperative financial institution Desjardins, a federation of linked cooperative savings banks focused historically in Québec, has done a deal with the US mutual insurer State Farm to buy the latter’s general insurance business in Canada.

This represents a major expansion of Desjardins’ current insurance business and demonstrates how ambitious its CEO Monique Leroux is at the moment in wanting to extend Desjardins’ business reach and influence.  Assuming the deal is given regulatory approval, Desjardins will overtake The Co-operators as the largest general insurance cooperative in Canada (it is already the largest cooperative life insurer).

And there’s another interesting aspect to the deal, and that is that the French company Crédit Mutuel has also been brought into the party. Crédit Mutuel, which already has some small-scale partnership arrangements with Desjardins, is investing 200m Canadian dollars in the business.

Little by little, cooperatives are becoming international in their ways of working.

The news announcement is here.

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