A new kind of loan to improve the energy efficiency of businesses -
Desjardins Group is encouraging businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas
emissions with the launch of a new energy-efficiency loan

LÉVIS, QC, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Starting today, businesses that want to make a real reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by using less polluting energy sources, will be able to take out energy-efficiency loans from Desjardins. Innovative as ever, Desjardins Group's new loan is the first of its kind in the country!

Businesses that plan to take measures to reduce their impact on the environment will now be able to have such projects financed, 100%, by Desjardins. To be eligible, businesses must first receive a grant for energy-efficiency projects from Hydro Québec, the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique or the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ).

The amount to be repaid is flexible and will be determined based on an evaluation of how much the work to be done will generate savings for the business. Businesses will be eligible for reimbursement holidays of up to six months, allowing time for installation work to take place. In such cases, only interest will have to be paid. "By granting capital reimbursement holidays and offering advantageous flexibility on loan repayment, we will help businesses do the work they want to do while reducing the impact on their liquid assets," says Stéphane Achard, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Business and Institutional Services at Desjardins.

Make a contribution to the environment for the duration of the loan

Another innovation is that Desjardins will recognize and reward good businesses practices. In fact, on top of offering a competitive interest rate, remuneration in the form of carbon credits equivalent to 50 basis points (0.5%) on the balance of the loan will be paid on December 31 of each year.

These amounts to be paid out by Desjardins will be from energy-efficiency, sustainable energy and point-of-use treatment projects as carbon credits to be purchased on behalf of businesses. "This is a way for us to make a significant contribution to the major problem of climate change. Thanks to this initiative, we hope to compensate for thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)," concluded Mr. Achard.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $157 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, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of over 6,200 elected officers. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

For further information: For further information: (for journalists only): Caroline Phémius, Advisor, Media Relations, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7000, 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7646, caroline.phemius@desjardins.com

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