The Cooperative of Notaries in Québec has created a financial vehicle to prevent American competition from dominating the entire Quebec mortgage market. The creation of the cooperative was intended to protect the economic future of its members.
The arrival of major title insurance companies in Quebec
Everything started when insurance companies from the southern part of Canada, particularly the two largest ones - First Canadian Title (FCT) and Chicago Title Insurance Company - initially set up operations in Quebec after the signing of NAFTA in 1995. Subsequently, they organized themselves to produce mortgage-related documents and entered the Canadian banking market, effectively taking over tasks that were previously handled by notaries.
The largest financial institutions in the country that conduct regular business with FCT include, among others:
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Manulife, turned to Chicago Title Insurance Company.
The influence of Desjardins credit union in Quebec
While these two major Title Insurance Companies wield considerable control over the Canadian mortgage refinancing market, there was one significant player in real estate missing from their ranks: Desjardins.
Desjardins has a substantial presence in Quebec, thanks to its deep-rooted engagement with the communities it serves. Many members even take pride in choosing Desjardins as their financial institution.
From one cooperative to another
During that time, Desjardins could have followed the same path as chartered banks and major Canadian financial institutions but it’s important to remember that Desjardins is not a bank; it's a financial cooperative, one of the largest in the world. Its decision-making lies within local branches, which is fundamentally different from the structure of banks.
Instead of aligning its operations with American financial institutions that prioritize profits for shareholders mostly residing outside Quebec and Canada, Desjardins turned towards a cooperative of notaries.
Everyone benefits from this collaboration. Notaries members of the cooperative have a say in decision making and profit redistribution, voted at annual general assemblies. Capital gain remains in Quebec, all parties involved, including notary members and Desjardins members, reap the benefits.