Desjardins says it has ‘ample capacity’ to deal with data theft

By The Canadian Press | February 26, 2020 | Last updated on February 26, 2020
1 min read

The Desjardins Group says last year’s theft of the personal data of its 4.2 million members ultimately cost the co-operative $108 million.

The Quebec-based financial institution initially estimated the cost of a malicious employee’s breach — which also affected 1.8 million credit card holders — at $70 million.

Chief executive Guy Cormier says the impact is less than 1% of its $18 billion in revenues in 2019.

It may seem like a large amount, but he says Desjardins has “ample capacity” to absorb the expense.

The costs are mainly related to the package of measures offered to members, such as free credit monitoring service from Equifax for five years.

Cormier says there should be no further increase in costs related to the data theft, which has plunged the co-operative into turmoil since it was revealed last June.

Desjardins released its Q4 and full-year results for 2019 on Wednesday.

At yearend, Desjardins’ surplus earnings before dividends increased 11.7% to $2.6 billion. The dividend is up 25% from last year and is at its highest level since 2011.

Net surplus earnings for Desjardins’ wealth management and life and health insurance segment were $729 in 2019, down 18% from the previous year due to lower gains on the sale of securities and real estate investments, and higher expenses.

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