Class of 1980
Co-founder, Desjardins Group
Alphonse Desjardins was impressed by a debate concerning legislation designed to protect people from excessive interest charges. He conceived a new form of co-operative savings and credit institution where people would become both the owners and the clients.
The first Caisse Populaire was organized in 1900 in Levis, Quebec, his place of birth. The initial deposit was 10 cents, and deposits for the first day totaled $26.40. But the seed had been planted, and the harvest was to come in abundance. Caisses Populaires and credit unions were subsequently established throughout North America. More than 9 million Canadians and 44 million Americans are now involved in their own savings and credit co-operatives.