Desjardins Group Annual General Meetings - Desjardins: A modern, strong and growing cooperative financial institution serving its members and clients

QUÉBEC CITY, March 29, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Over the next few years, Desjardins Group will continue to be at the leading-edge, innovating for members and clients and pursuing growth. Growth for Desjardins means being able to invest in technology, to develop new products and services that meet the changing needs of members and clients, to provide officers and employees with training opportunities and to be the largest contributor to the communities that it serves.

Desjardins' performance in 2013 validates its recent business decisions. With record surplus earnings of $1.5 billion, a large portion of which has been reinvested in the organization, and with total assets of $212 billion, a 7% increase. Thanks to a high level of capitalization, the company strengthened its financial position—proving to members and clients that they're in good hands.

Desjardins is Québec's first choice for savings, mortgage financing, card services and business loans. It's also an insurance leader in Québec and the rest of Canada.

Desjardins Group Chair of the Board, President and CEO, Monique F. Leroux told some 2,000 caisse delegates present for the Desjardins Group Annual General Meetings: "We are here today because we are first and foremost an organization of individuals working together to serve our members and clients. We reject complacency. We adapt. Because we provide our members and clients with the solutions they need."

Innovating for our members and clients

In terms of innovation, Leroux talked about the new products and services rolled out in 2013, including the Desjardins mobile services available for smartphones and tablets. She also mentioned the successful launch of the prepaid card.

This spring will also see the introduction of a brand new tool, Hop'n S@ve. Designed for our youth clientele, the tool will help them save in just a few clicks. "Impulse buying can be balanced with impulse saving," according to Leroux.

She also spoke about the complimentary services caisse members can already access, including Travel Assistance and Identity Theft Assistance. More exclusive features will be rolled out for members during the year.

"We want to go that extra mile for our members, especially in today's market. We want the experience of being a Desjardins member to mean even more and to be even more beneficial," added Leroux. "To be a Desjardins member is to contribute to the growth and strength of a large private company that cannot be controlled externally."

In the same vein, Desjardins will provide entrepreneurs with new tools to support them through their various business cycles. These tools will be available on the Desjardins website and help entrepreneurs create a business.

"Family, public and collective businesses all create wealth and jobs, benefiting our communities. And we are committed to supporting our entrepreneurial members and clients," stated Leroux.

She also invited the Desjardins elected officers and employees to contribute to building a promising future for the cooperative institution. She added that being the largest financial cooperative group in Canada, Desjardins must bolster its growth for the benefit of all its members and clients over the next few years.

"Growth is another big part of our goals. Developing new markets and new business will further diversify our financial foundation; increase our capacity for investment," said Leroux.

Generating growth is also a way to contribute to developing the cooperative model—a model Desjardins strongly believes in. That's why it uses its expertise and financial strength to support other cooperatives: school, funeral, forestry and housing cooperatives. It's also a major financial partner of the largest cooperatives and mutual in Quebec, including Agropur, la Coop Fédérée and Promutuel.

As part of its efforts to strengthen the Canadian cooperative movement, Desjardins also has a number of business partnerships with credit unions across the country such as British Columbia's Coast Capital.

Earlier this year, Desjardins announced its planned acquisition of State Farm Canada.  State Farm Canada is a U.S.-based insurance mutual with a network of 500 agents serving 1.2 million clients across the country. The transaction was made possible thanks to the participation of two major organizations: the U.S. mutual State Farm and France's Crédit Mutuel, a long-standing partner of Desjardins Group. As part of the deal, State Farm and Crédit Mutuel have invested in the Desjardins property and casualty insurance subsidiaries.

"We believe in the power of cooperation. And we are confident that it can only lead to a more just, more balanced, more inclusive world. We want our children to have the same confidence in a strong, modern, growing cooperative that will be in their hands," concluded Leroux.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world with assets of $212 billion. It has been rated one of Canada's top 100 employers by Mediacorp Canada. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. The group has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry. It is considered as the fourth safest and strongest bank in North America according to Global Finance magazine and Bloomberg News respectively.

SOURCE: Desjardins Group

For further information:

For journalists only:
André Chapleau
Media Relations
514-281-7229 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7229

March 29: 418-649-5242 (Centre des congrès de Québec)

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