Acquisition of Western Financial Group: Desjardins Financial Group Extends Offers

LÉVIS, QC and HIGH RIVER, AB, Feb. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Financial Group through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Desjardins Financial Corporation Inc. ("Desjardins") and Western Financial Group Inc. ("Western") today made an announcement regarding Desjardins' offers to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares, First Preferred Shares, Series Three and First Preferred Shares, Series Four of Western not already owned by Desjardins (together, the "Offers").

Desjardins announced that it is extending the expiry date of the Offers to 5:00 p.m. (Montréal Time) on March 21, 2011 to allow the required regulatory approvals to be obtained. All other terms of the Offers remain the same. A formal notice of extension will be mailed to shareholders of Western in due course. The notice of extension will be filed on SEDAR and will be available at Subject to obtaining the required regulatory approvals and the fulfilment or waiver of all other conditions set out in the related take-over bid circular dated January 21, 2011, Desjardins intends to take up and pay for shares tendered to the Offers on March 21, 2011.

About Desjardins Financial Group

Awarded the coveted title "Bank of the Year 2010 — Canada" by the UK magazine The Banker, Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of over $175 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 5.8 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 one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate CulturesTM of 2010, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of nearly 6,000 elected officers. For more information, visit

About Western Financial Group

Western Financial Group provides property, liability and life insurance as well as banking and investment services for more than 550,000 customers in Western Canada. Its business units include:

The Network is the largest property and casualty brokerage in Western Canada, providing auto, home, farm and business insurance to residents of 96 communities. In most locations we also offer life insurance products travel insurance some investment services, and deposit and loan services such as the purchase of GICs, as well as personal and commercial mortgages and loans.

Bank West is a virtual bank accessible through brokers and customer service agents, focused on commercial, agricultural, recreational vehicle and several types of personal lending, and GICs.

Western Life partners with others who have a customer relationship in place with a product line including Individual Life, Disability and Critical Illness products, Group Health for small employer groups, A&S products designed for niche contexts and many variations of Creditor Insurance products.

Western Financial Insurance is Canada's oldest and largest pet insurance provider under the brand name PetSecure, leading the market place since 1989 in providing Canadian pet parents with innovative coverage to meet the diverse needs of their pets.

For more information on Western visit


For further information:

Western shareholders with procedural questions regarding the Offers process should contact Georgeson, the Information Agent for the Offers at the toll free number 1-866-725-6575 or by email

Media only:
On behalf of Desjardins Financial Group
André Chapleau, Director of Media Relations
514-281-7229 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7229

On behalf of Western Financial Group
Arlene Beggs, Executive Assistant to the CEO

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