Alban D'Amours Shares Excitement for the Future with Desjardins Caisse Officers



    MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - In a speech made today in Montréal to
some 2,000 caisse officers gathered for the Desjardins Group Annual General
Meetings, the President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alban D'Amours,
invited his audience to look into the future, outlining his vision of what the
cooperative institution will have become in 10 years' time.
    Referring to the work by French writer and journalist Jean-Claude
Guillebaud, Le Goût de l'avenir, Mr. D'Amours encouraged the Desjardins caisse
officers to share in his excitement for the future.
    "Being excited about the future means being willing to play an active and
decisive role in the destiny of Desjardins Group," he said. "It means refusing
'change for the sake of change' or 'change brought about by necessity',
choosing instead to orient change and imprint it with a philosophy that draws
on a long tradition of cooperative thinking and practice. It also means
equipping ourselves with the means to reach destinations that we have chosen,
rather than passively reacting to the whims of the economy."
    In 10 years, predicts Mr. D'Amours, Desjardins will still be an
organization whose mission is to contribute to the economic and social
well-being of individuals and communities. It will also be a perfectly
integrated cooperative financial group.
    Mr. D'Amours believes that Desjardins will at that point have reached an
enviable level of maturity in operating and integrating its distribution,
wholesale and manufacturing activities. "This is an advantage that we will
have developed in order to become the leader in consumer wealth management and
the financial institution of choice for SMEs."
    "In 10 years," he continued, "each caisse will have reached optimal size
and become a veritable centre of financial expertise. Through its efficient,
harmonized and productive distribution networks, Desjardins will be able to
protect accessibility, ensure proximity to members and the community, and
demonstrate high levels of productivity."
    Mr. D'Amours also expects that Desjardins will have taken its place in
the Greater Montréal market, where "cultural, linguistic and intergenerational
diversity, as well as having both men and women at all levels of the
organization, will be important factors for success throughout Desjardins."
    In 10 years' time, he added, "Desjardins will be even better at combining
cooperative and financial performance. It will have developed a strong,
distinctive culture of performance and will have made it into a tool for
motivation rather than dehumanization."
    Mr. D'Amours already anticipates that Desjardins' Canada-wide
development, which began only a few years ago, will be a resounding success.
"In 10 years' time, our Canadian development will have reached maturity. Our
partnerships underway with the Canadian credit unions will have helped us to
make progress in all areas and to establish a cooperative financial movement
that is sound, credible and widely appreciated."
    In the same vein, he predicts that Desjardins Group will have greatly
influenced the development of international cooperative business models,
through its attachment to the values of democracy, sharing, solidarity and
empowerment, as well as through the dissemination of its knowledge and
expertise.
    "Those are the destinations that drive our common venture. To get there
as planned will require courage, discipline, discernment and a large dose of
solidarity," stated Mr. D'Amours.
    In his view, the challenges that must be faced and the opportunities to
be seized in the next ten years will be closely related to the major economic,
social and environmental changes that are taking place today across the
planet.
    That is one of the reasons he asked the caisse officers to show foresight
when considering the major issues they will be dealing with along the way, and
to demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility. "We need to make the right
decisions and show ourselves determined and courageous. Being excited about
the future involves courage, just as it also requires great discipline and
consistent action."
    "By focusing on the solidarity that unites all its components, on the
strength of its synergies, and on its ability to act globally, Desjardins
Group will be in a position to continue the formidable task that has been
underway for the past 106 years. In this way, Desjardins will continue to
offer a business model based on values that give meaning to collective action
and which motivate the quest for the common good," Mr. D'Amours concluded.

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest integrated cooperative financial group in
Canada, with overall assets of more than $135 billion, as at December 31,
2006. It comprises a network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in
Québec and Ontario, and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general
insurance, securities brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of
which are active across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its
40,000 employees and the commitment of 7,020 elected officers, Desjardins
offers its 5.8 million individual and corporate members and clients a full
range of financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
complemented by leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult
www.desjardins.com.




For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau,
Director, Information and Media Relations, (514) 281-7229, 1-866-866-7000,
ext. 7229; March 31, Press room at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, (514)
789-3488


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