Desjardins Group Proudly Reaffirms Its Difference with Over Half a Billion Dollars Given Back To Individuals and Communities in 2006 - Desjardins has one of the most impressive social responsibility records in the country



    MONTREAL, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Group, the largest
integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, today presented its 2006
Social Responsibility Report at its Annual General Meetings, being held at the
Palais des congrès in Montréal.
    "For Desjardins Group, the well-being of individuals and communities is
central to its mission. Through the volunteer activities of our employees, the
attribution of substantial amounts of money in the form of sponsorships,
donations, study bursaries and Community Development Fund support, Desjardins
makes a significant contribution to institutions and projects that play a
major role in structuring our society," stated Desjardins Group President and
C.E.O., Mr. Alban D'Amours.
    In addition to the $483 million paid out as patronage dividends,
Desjardins Group also distributed $64 million in sponsorships, donations and
scholarships to benefit members and the community.
    Of the $64 million, $18.9 million was earmarked for regional economic
development, $16.1 million for health and well-being, $7.3 million for mutual
assistance and solidarity, $7.4 million for education, over $500,000 for
environmental protection activities, $8.1 million for sports and leisure and,
finally, $5.6 million for arts and culture.
    As a result, over half a billion dollars ($547 million) was returned to
individuals and the community in 2006, or just over 55% of the net surplus
earnings generated by Desjardins last year. The total amount returned to the
community in this way over the past five years is now $2.2 billion.
    This figure does not include the generosity of Desjardins employees and
retirees, who helped the cooperative collect a record $2.6 million for
Centraide/United Way in 2006, making it one of the biggest donors to this
campaign.
    "Not only is Desjardins the only financial institution to contribute to
communities in such a direct fashion, it also has one of the strongest records
of any Canadian company in that regard, not to mention its tangible support of
sustainable development" added Mr. D'Amours.
    Desjardins' Social Responsibility Report and its Annual Report can be
viewed on the institution's Web site at www.desjardins.com.

    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: Source (for journalists only): Nathalie Genest,
Advisor, Information and Media Relations Department, (514) 281-7275,
1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275; March 31, Press room at the Palais des congrès de
Montréal, (514) 789-3488

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