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Desjardins to Reduce Number of Branches and ATMs by 30% by 2026

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The Mouvement Desjardins, one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, has announced plans to reduce the number of its branches and ATMs by 30% by the end of 2026. This decision comes as online services and mobile phones become the primary modes of financial transactions.

Desjardins has already closed several branches and ATMs since 2022, and this new move will further decrease their presence. At the end of 2023, Desjardins operated 669 branches and 1559 ATMs. This means that approximately 200 branches and 460 ATMs will be closed across Desjardins’ service territory over the next three years.

Nathalie Larue, the First Vice-President of Individual Services at Desjardins, explained that the decision is based on an analysis of customer usage of in-person and ATM services. Only 1% of Desjardins’ transaction volume was conducted through in-person services at the end of 2023, while ATMs accounted for just 3%.

Larue noted that Desjardins members have increasingly been using digital platforms for their everyday transactions, with the trend accelerating during the pandemic. The demand for online appointments instead of in-branch visits has also played a role in the decision to reduce physical locations.

Desjardins plans to remain present and adjust its services to meet the expectations of its members. However, the closures will have an impact, especially for older individuals who rely on in-person services and assistance from staff in smaller communities.

Desjardins has not released a list of specific branches and ATMs that will be closed, as each decision will be made by individual caisse boards of directors. The closures will be announced gradually over the coming months as each board evaluates the needs of its respective community.

The Fédération de l’Âge d’Or du Québec (FADOQ) expressed its concern about the closures, highlighting the economic impact these branches have on local communities. However, they also acknowledged Desjardins’ commitment to supporting its members during the transition.

While larger urban areas may still have access to branches and ATMs, these services are already scarce in many rural regions. The closures will have a significant impact, especially in areas where branches are not only financial service providers but also community hubs, much like churches, post offices, gas stations, and grocery stores.

The decision has sparked discussions about the digital transformation of banking services, as similar trends are observed in other financial institutions. Customers’ decreasing demand for in-person services has prompted Desjardins to protect its margins by adjusting its service offerings.

Rachel Adams

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