People and profit: co-op leader takes long view

21 March 2016

In last Friday’s edition of The Deal magazine, inside The Australian, Monique Leroux President, International Co-operative Alliance and CEO of Canadian financial giant, Desjardins Group, discusses the advantages of co-operatives in a volatile economy. Ms Leroux explains mutuals’ winning formula for long term sustainable business:

“At Desjardins my philosophy is let’s build a very solid capital base because we want to be able to face the volatility in the market and be there for the long term.”

Discussing the co-operative business model, Ms Leroux  stated the the co-operative model is about people and profit.

“It’s a combination of being an institution of people, and at the same time a business.”

Desjardins Group was ranked North America’s strongest bank in 2015 by Bloomberg. It has assets totalling $248.1 billion. In March, the ICA held its first Board meeting in Sydney in its 120 years of existence.

In an separate interview with, Ms Leroux recognised co-operatives in the financial services sector must turn challenges into opportunities to thrive today.

Ms Leroux acknowledged the age of the internet, social media, crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending provides threats and challenges to the co-operative business model. But turning disruption into opportunity by being innovative and agile is the key to surviving and thriving, she suggested.

“I think it is a challenge for any kind of organisation. I guess that even if you are a co-operative organisation you need to face change and you need to be good at innovation. Most co-operative organisations started as an innovation,” Ms Leroux said.

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