MONTREAL, March 31, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the
Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group (www.desjardins.com), shared her goals for the coming years at the Desjardins Group Annual
General Meeting held today at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.
These goals stem from four major priorities: cooperation, Desjardins
members and clients, personal development, and growth at Desjardins
Starting her second term as president of the cooperative financial
group, Ms. Leroux chose to address Desjardins' members and clients
directly via a live webcast. As she stated, one of her main goals for
the coming years is to enhance and improve the quality of their
relationship with Desjardins.
Cooperation is a key commitment of Ms. Leroux's second term. "At
Desjardins we believe in cooperation. It is in our DNA. It is our past
and our future. I want to make sure that we always stay connected and
committed to you as a cooperative enterprise. That money remains at the
service of human development".
With respect to cooperation, Ms. Leroux mentioned the creation —in 2011—
of a program promoting financial and cooperative education. This
program has led to the creation of a number of projects at Desjardins.
She also announced that $10 million will be invested in a project to
revitalize school and student caisses. Since their creation, these
caisses have contributed to the financial and cooperative education of
thousands of young people in schools across Quebec. These caisses will
be able to further their mission for the next generation through their
involvement in the update of school material.
Several other initiatives will be set up, such as the new budgeting tool
designed to help members control their spending and achieve their
financial goals. In addition, Desjardins will be launching an awareness
campaign in the fall for those ages 45 to 65 to help them create a
financial plan in preparation for retirement.
Members and clients
In 2011, Desjardins consulted with its members and clients to clearly
identify their needs. According to the President, it was certainly
worth the effort: "We realized that we must go that extra mile to meet
your needs and expectations. We are going to make this a part of our
service standards, by making sure it's incorporated into our best
customer service practices. The quality of our relationship with you
must be what distinguishes us from our competitors."
A number of initiatives have already been set up, such as new ways to
better serve the members, new services to simplify their lives and
changes made to certain methods of operation. Every effort is being
made to ensure that Desjardins members and clients enjoy an enriching
experience with their cooperative.
More than 50,000 employees, elected officers and managers work at
Desjardins. It is therefore only natural that personal development is
at the heart of Monique Leroux's commitments.
"At Desjardins we believe in personal development. We are firm believers
in training as a means of developing leadership, innovation and
entrepreneurship. We also believe in the importance of training
internships," she stated. In the same vein, she urged caisse elected
officers to take on a more active role within the organization, for the
members' benefit. "We also want them to be representative of you as
members—men, women, youth, seniors, cultural communities. We want you
to see them as a reflection of yourselves."
Desjardins Group growth
However, according to Ms. Leroux, these commitments cannot be fulfilled
without first ensuring the growth of Desjardins Group: "Growth makes
several things possible. It gives us leeway to face growing and fierce
competition. It enables us to add new services and offer them at lower
cost thanks to bigger sales volumes. It helps us to contribute to a
thriving and prosperous cooperative movement."
Desjardins intends to take advantage of opportunities to continue
accelerating its growth in Quebec, other provinces and internationally.
Ms. Leroux further announced that a number of other initiatives will
focus on the growth of Desjardins Group. A service offer will soon be
developed to assist cooperatives and mutuals. For example, a special
fund will be created to help launch new businesses.
Desjardins Group is continuing to grow in western Canada thanks to the
acquisition of Western Financial Group Inc., among others, or also
through business development with our cooperative partners.
Furthermore, its cooperative agreement with Crédit Mutuel will enable
Desjardins to break into the European market. In fact, $50 million has
already been invested in a new venture capital fund specialized in high
tech financing. "At Desjardins, we are committed to creating new ways
to spur growth and innovation every day to aid the development of the
cooperative movement," said Ms. Leroux.
Putting the focus on people
Ms. Leroux firmly believes that cooperatives help build a better world
because they put the focus on people. This is why she called on the
members of Desjardins to continue the mission of the leading
cooperative financial group in Canada.
Desjardins has great ambitions for 2012—the International Year of
Cooperatives. "Together with you, we want to enhance the pride we feel
in being part of Desjardins Group. A Desjardins Group that belongs to
us and that no one can take away. A Desjardins Group that continues to
meet the financial needs of individuals while supporting the
development of communities," concluded Ms. Leroux.
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group www.desjardins.com is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada with assets of
$190 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Quebec
and Ontario, and its subsidiaries across Canada, it offers a full range
of financial products and services to its 5.6 million members and
clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and
Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty Insurance, in Personal
Services, in Business and Institutional Services. As one of the largest
employers in the country and among Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2012TM, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 44,645 employees and the
commitment of nearly 5,400 elected officers. A new education and
cooperation program is now available to Desjardins members and the
general public. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com/co-opme.
SOURCE DESJARDINS GROUP
For further information:
(for journalists only):
514-281-7275 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275
For March 31, 2012
Media room at the Palais des congrès de Montréal