The pandemic has put a strain on the use of ATMs and cashier services at Desjardins Group, which could lead to further closures. The number of transactions through these services is at its lowest level in at least a decade.
According to data sent to Newspaper by the cooperative, the use of ATMs fell by 32% in Quebec and Ontario in 2020. If we look at a period of five years, the decrease in transactions was 54%.
“In one year, we have experienced a drop in transaction volume [dans les guichets et aux comptoirs] that we usually know in five years. […] Due to the pandemic, members have turned to technology overwhelmingly, ”said spokesperson Jean-Benoît Turcotti.
The latter still believes in the importance of offering a counter service to consumers.
In 2018, as it was preparing to deploy its new generation of devices, Desjardins management told TVA Nouvelles that it planned to end this tool in 2028.
In five years, the number of Movement counters has also been reduced by 19.5%. Last year, only two devices were taken off the network.
Desjardins is probably not the only financial institution to see a drop in payments or withdrawals at ATMs.
According to a study released in the fall by Payments Canada, 44% of Canadians said COVID-19 prompted them to opt for digital or contactless payment. It must be said that several traders have asked people to no longer pay for their products in money.
Respondents also said they use less cash and checks, and nearly one in two sees digital payment as a lasting habit.
Closed service centers
For counter services, the number of transactions also recorded a significant drop of 42% last year at Desjardins, when 29 cash service centers closed their doors.
Unlike the ATM service, the vast majority of establishments in the financial group have had to shut down their activities in recent months due to the pandemic.
This may explain part of this decrease. Desjardins has also put more emphasis on online services.
The management also affirms that “70% of the meetings (with individuals and companies) were carried out remotely”.
In five years, Desjardins has closed 224 service centers. Several have been transformed into automated centers, ie without employees.
Now, with the growing popularity of digital solutions, should we expect major cuts in 2021 at Desjardins?
“We will continue to serve members the way they want to be served. At Desjardins, the distribution network is analyzed annually by the caisse administrators. It will be up to them, over the next few years, to assess the use of services, ”concludes Mr. Turcotti.
The impacts of the pandemic on payments
- 57% of Canadians used money less often than before the pandemic
- 32% use less checks
- 64% get money less often at an ATM
- 25% have used wire transfers more often.
- 32% used their credit cards more often
Source: Payments Canada