Desjardins to strengthen its presence in Greater Montreal with $100
million in investments over the next three years
MONTREAL, April 22, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Speaking at the Board of Trade
of Metropolitan Montreal today, Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board,
President and CEO of Desjardins Group, announced the organization's
development plan for Greater Montreal, the first phase of which will
include $100 million in investments over the next three years. "Our
development plan shows we want to participate in the development of
Montreal," she said. "Because like you, we believe in the importance of
Montreal for a prosperous and entrepreneurial Quebec."
Under the plan, Desjardins is seeking to increase its membership by more
than 200,000 new members and open 15 new points of service in Greater
A big part of the plan is innovation. Desjardins wants to test out new
business models, such as its new mobile shipping
container-turned-kiosk, which it plans to use at major sponsorship
events. It also wants to create special spaces for students, the first
of which will open in the fall near Campus Montréal. These kinds of new
business models will help Desjardins grow its presence in
neighbourhoods where it had previously been operating under the radar,
such as Centre-West Montreal and the West Island.
A more prosperous future for Quebec
In her speech, Ms. Leroux also announced the findings of a major study
co-conducted by Desjardins Group's Economic Studies team and the Center
for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO).
Titled For a more entrepreneurial and prosperous Quebec, the study paints a picture of the challenges today's businesses face to
grow, succeed, and contribute to Quebec's economy.
One of its findings is that Quebec isn't necessarily the most fertile
ground for new businesses. "This is a trend that must be reversed,"
said Ms. Leroux. "By enhancing and supporting the creation of more
companies, supporting their growth, and preparing for succession and
wisely planning the transfer of ownership."
The study also found that Quebec isn't the strongest champion of
productivity and innovation. Ms. Leroux's hope is that businesses can
catch up by "investing further in technology and digital media and
modernizing our facilities, and by investing above all in the
development of our human resources. Because people form the core of
While we count on government to create favourable conditions to help
businesses get off the ground, grow and prosper, Ms. Leroux also
believes that business owners have a role to play. "It is crucial to
enhance the role of business. Entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and
business people like ourselves have an important role to play in this
Throughout her speech, Ms. Leroux cited a number of ways Desjardins
Group has helped support business growth or ownership transfers for a
wide range of businesses, big and small. Concrete examples include
Desjardins' contributions to the Fondation de l'entrepreneurship, the Desjardins Entrepreneur Awards, venture capital funds, and
solidarity-based financing programs like Créavenir, for young start-ups, and Desjardins Microcredit to Businesses. "At
Desjardins, we are very proud to support innovative Montreal
businesses," said Ms. Leroux. "Companies that have a worldwide
perspective and reach out to develop new markets. Companies that train
their personnel. Companies that invest to grow their production
Montreal: a world-class city
As a strong supporter of Montreal, having grown up in its
Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, Ms. Leroux spoke affectionately
about her hometown. "Every major city has its own distinctive appeal.
Each becomes a landmark in our interconnected world. Montreal has many
a great strengths on which to build its own power of attraction," said
Ms. Leroux, adding that in addition to these strengths, "Montreal is
still affordable, for students and residents alike."
She pointed to the recent election of a new government in Quebec, a new
administration at Montreal city hall, and the business community's
strong consensus that Montreal needs to act to create a prosperous
Quebec. "We have a propitious opening before us to breathe new life
into our city," said Ms. Leroux. "It's time to join forces and make
Montreal a world-class city."
And that's where Desjardins Group hopes its Greater Montreal Development
Plan will come in. Ms. Leroux reminded her audience of Desjardins's
already strong presence in the city, where it serves 1.6 million
members and 10,000 businesses and operates a network of 223 points of
service and 7 Desjardins Business Centres, which generate a combined
business volume of nearly $100 billion.
Ms. Leroux concluded her speech on a hopeful note: "2017 is fast
approaching, the year we celebrate Montreal's 375th anniversary," she
said. "My deepest wish is that we celebrate with the pride and
self-assurance of a city reborn. The pride of a city in action. It's
our time for action!"
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fifth
largest 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
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