The Cooperative of notaries of Quebec has created a financial vehicle to prevent American competition from dominating the entire Quebec mortgage market. The creation of the cooperative then served to protect the economic future of its members.

The arrival of major insurance companies in Quebec

It all started when insurance companies from southern Canada – including the two largest First Canadian Title (FCT) and Chicago Title Insurance Company – first set up in Quebec after the signing of NAFTA in 1995. They then organized to produce mortgage documents and divided the Canadian banking market. Thus they indirectly substituted the work done by notaries.

The largest financial institutions in the country that do business with the FCT today include:

As for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Manulife, they turned to Chicago Title Insurance Company.

The power of Caisse Desjardins in Quebec

Although these two main institutions control a good part of the Canadian market in terms of mortgage refinancing, they are still missing an important player in real estate: Desjardins. Of course, the presence of the Caisse Desjardins is considerable in Quebec, thanks to its involvement in the communities it serves. Many members even say they are proud of their choice of financial institution.

Certainly, although there is the Fédération des Caisses du Québec et de l’Ontario, it serves only to serve its members in various fields by supporting local caisses.

From cooperative to cooperative

At the time, Desjardins had the choice of turning to the same suppliers as chartered banks and major Canadian financial institutions. But remember that Desjardins is not a bank! It is above all a financial cooperative, one of the largest in the world, whose decision-making power is located in the caisses, which is the opposite of that in the banks.

Rather than directing its activities towards American capitalist financial institutions which control their profits in favor of shareholders residing mainly outside Quebec and Canada, the Caisse Desjardins - being itself a cooperative - then moved towards a cooperative of notaries. The Coopérative de notaires du Québec therefore deemed it appropriate to offer its business model to member notaries interested in its design and to offer its services to all cooperative members of Desjardins.

In doing so, as the goal of a cooperative is for its members to promote common local interests, everyone benefits from collaborating. At general meetings, through a vote, the distribution of profits is then determined and said profits are given to members in the form of rebates. In this way, the added value created by the Cooperative of notaries remains in Quebec. All members involved (notary members and Desjardins members) can therefore benefit from it.

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