QUEBEC (3/29/12)--A book outlining the philosophy of Alfonse Desjardins, the founder of the North American credit union movement, is being launched by Canada's Desjardins Group to mark the International Year of Cooperatives.
Entitled Alphonse Desjardins: le pouvoir d'agir, the book is the work of Monique F. Leroux, president/CEO of Desjardins Group, one of three co-hosts of the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives.
Desjardins and his wife Dorimene founded the first caisse populaire (credit union) in Levis, Quebec, Canada, in 1900.
The book uses Desjardins' thoughts to show how the cooperative model remains relevant and how it can prove invaluable in addressing challenges in 2012.
Desjardins, who made his living as a writer and never earned a cent from starting the caisses, decided to design a cooperative financial system after hearing of a man who was ordered by the court to pay $5,000 in interest fees on an initial loan of $150.
He sought advice from all over the world about how to design a cooperative financial system suited to Quebec's needs and corresponded with several French, Belgian, Italian and Swiss heads of rural savings and credit cooperatives. He spent months poring over materials sent him, and he came up with the combined rules of European credit cooperatives with the experience of North American savings banks, Leroux' book reports
The book noted that at the dawn of the 20th century, Desjardins was well aware of the importance of international collaboration between cooperatives..
Desjardins is the namesake of the Credit Union National Association's annual Desjardins Youth and Adult Financial Education Awards.