MONTREAL, April 23, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Addressing the members of the
Canadian Club of Montreal, Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board,
President and CEO of Desjardins Group (www.desjardins.com), underscored the importance of the cooperative business model, one
which has proven to be very successful for Desjardins Group and which
has been a key factor in its growth across Canada.
As part of the International Year of Cooperatives, Ms. Leroux reminded
the audience of the role that cooperative entrepreneurship plays in
Quebec, Canada and internationally. Together, the 300 largest
cooperatives in the world represent an economic power nearly equal to
that of Canada—the 11th largest economy in the world.
She noted that one in three Canadians is a member of a cooperative and,
in Quebec, data reveal that the rate of survival of cooperatives is
twice that of all businesses combined. In this regard, Desjardins has
undertaken to work more closely with cooperative businesses across the
country using a personalized approach that is adapted to their
For Monique F. Leroux, "a business that grows is a business that creates
wealth and jobs." That is why Desjardins is making every effort to
continually provide a better service to Canadian businesses.
Ms. Leroux also shared her enthusiasm about the upcoming 2012
International Summit of Cooperatives which will be held in Quebec City
this October. She stated that the Summit will be an opportunity to
showcase the values of cooperation, to take stock of the situation and
to pave the way for the future growth of the cooperative and mutualist
Desjardins Group continues to expand in the Canadian market—proof of how
effective and resilient the cooperative business model each and every
day. Ms. Leroux then went on to talk about the major thrusts of its
growth strategy: "Our Canadian strategy is now based on a three-pronged
approach. First: organic growth of our business. Second: acquisitions.
And third: strategic partnerships."
The organic growth of Desjardins depends to a large extent on the
activities of the caisses in Ontario, a network almost as old as that
of Quebec. "Add to that our insurance companies, our card and payment
services, Caisse centrale Desjardins and Desjardins Securities, which
have also been active across Canada for the past several years. That
presence is expanding year by year," declared Ms. Leroux.
The second thrust of Desjardins Group is acquisitions, with two major
acquisitions in 2011. The first was the acquisition of Western
Financial Group. "Western Financial Group serves over 550,000 clients
in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. It provides
property and casualty insurance products to individuals and businesses,
as well as life insurance products. This acquisition will enable us to
reach new clients who can benefit from the Desjardins offer. We are
adding new distribution networks and building a development centre in
western Canada," pointed out Ms. Leroux.
Next, Desjardins acquired MGI Financial, which specializes in mutual
fund brokerage. "MGI has over 225 advisors, mainly in Ontario and in
the Prairies. It also sells insurance products and group pension
The third avenue of growth is strategic partnerships. In 2011, a
partnership agreement was reached with Central One and Coast Capital
Savings, a financial cooperative based in British Columbia, for card
products aimed at individuals and businesses. Ms. Leroux also pointed
out the cooperation agreement that was signed with Crédit Mutuel from
France, which has some 6,000 points of sale and over 29 million clients
in France, Germany and other European countries.
"As part of this agreement, we opened a representative office in Paris
to support Canadian firms in developing their business in the European
market. We also welcome European companies that are interested in
investing in Quebec and in Canada. We have also created a venture
capital fund specializing in the financing of technological companies;
the target size of that fund is $100 million. We are also working with
Crédit Mutuel on developing the market for payment solutions and
electronic banking across Canada, in North America and abroad,"
enthused Ms. Leroux.
In conclusion, Ms. Leroux said she was satisfied with Desjardins Group's
Canadian growth strategy. "The results are in line with our
expectations. In life and health insurance, we are now the fourth
largest insurance company in Canada, with offices across the country
and over 5 million clients. 35% of our revenues come from outside
Quebec. We are also among the top 10 property and casualty insurance
companies in Canada. Approximately 45% of our property and casualty
insurance revenues are generated outside Quebec."
Thanks to this growth, Desjardins can invest in and enhance its service
offer, while contributing even more to the betterment of the economy,
society and individuals.
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 Québec
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
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