Separation from Desjardins: members should have known about it before, says UNI CEO

Camille Thériault, who returned to the helm of UNI Financial Cooperation on August 16, believes that the members should have been made aware of the financial institution’s intentions to abandon the Mouvement des Caisses Desjardins, in Quebec.

Last Wednesday, at a press briefing, when asked whether members should have been informed well in advance of UNI’s intentions regarding its links with Desjardins, the CEO of UNI did not hesitated before answering.

Absolutelyhe decided. I feel like everyone would have liked to know what was going on.

As a member, would I have liked to have known this before? Probably.

Several members of UNI Financial Cooperation expressed their astonishment when the financial institution announced, on March 29, that it was withdrawing from the service agreement with Desjardins Group in Quebec to change supplier.

A little over three months later, UNI implemented its major IT change project.

The former CEO of UNI, Robert Moreau, whose immediate departure was announced by the board of directors on August 15, does not intend to grant an interview at this time.

A secret

The head office of UNI Financial Cooperation in Caraquet.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Mario Mercier

Until the annual meeting last March in Bathurst, UNI Cooperation insisted on keeping the upcoming divorce with Desjardins a secret. But, the planning and efforts for this new path to take had been started well before.

Journalists from Radio-Canada Acadie got wind well before last year’s annual meeting of the broad outlines of what was being prepared at UNI Financial Cooperation. Desjardins did not want to comment, relying on UNI, which insisted on not confirming anything about the separation which was in preparation.

IT costs

In April 2022, Radio-Canada highlights financial statistics contained in UNI’s 2021 annual report which startle several members. IT and telecommunications expenses increased from $24.7 million in 2020 to almost $42 million in 2021. In terms of operating costs, no other sector has experienced such an increase.

Pierre-Marcel Desjardins

The president of the board of directors of UNI financial cooperation, Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, delivering his message to members during the annual meeting, in Tracadie, in April 2022.

Photo: Jerome Luc Paulin

A note in the 2021 annual report shed some light, without providing precise indications.

million dollars compared to the previous fiscal year which mainly comes from significant investments in certain strategic projects as well as technological modernization”,”text”:”Our operating expenses increased by approximately 19.9 million dollars dollars compared to the previous year which mainly comes from significant investments in certain strategic projects as well as technological modernization””>Our operating expenses increased by approximately $19.9 million compared to the previous fiscal year, mainly due to significant investments in certain strategic projects as well as technological modernization.we could read.

Puzzled members

At the end of last year’s annual members’ meeting in Tracadie, members explained that the spectacular jump in IT costs had been mentioned by the leaders. However, there was no question of the upcoming separation from Desjardins.

We are not IT professionalsunderlined a member of Tracadie, Yvon Savoie. We don’t really know what’s coming. But we trust the people who are in place.

UNI CEO Camille Thériault insists that he does not want to look for culprits following the many challenges posed by the new systems of the institution and that there is no point in looking to the past.

He says he wants to focus on transparency by revealing, for example, the number of members [2600] who left UNI.

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