"Living Desjardins with trust and confidence means giving ourselves the power to discuss, the power to decide and the power to act"

    Monique F. Leroux presents her ideas, convictions and commitments  for
    her mandate as President of Desjardins Group

    QUEBEC CITY, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Speaking for the first time as
President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group to caisse delegates
gathered today in Québec City for the Group's Annual General Meetings,
Ms. Monique F. Leroux shared her ideas and convictions on the growth of
Desjardins as well as the commitments she intends to hold over the course of
her mandate. She invited caisse delegates to get to work on continuing to
develop Desjardins Group as their predecessors did so successfully.
    Resolutely turned towards the future, the new President first plans to
base the future of Desjardins on its solid cooperative history. That is why
she did not hesitate to refer to the caisses as the driving force of
Desjardins Group; the basis, according to Ms. Leroux, of the success of the
institution and the development of the integrated cooperative financial group
Desjardins has become over the years.
    As a general backdrop to her comments, she referred to the soul of
Desjardins Group: cooperation. As stated by Ms. Leroux, this power that is
cooperation is what sets Desjardins apart and gathers up its vital forces. It
is what enables it to carry out the essence of its occupation, finance, based
on a unique model.
    Saluting the achievements of her predecessor, the lady who has today
taken the reins of the destiny of a great cooperative financial institution in
excellent heath appears to remain vigilant with respect to the future,
inviting all delegates to come together in order to find concrete solutions to
a number of challenges deemed to be priorities.
    "I believe we need to continue our efforts to crystallize our cooperative
difference, strengthen our positioning in wealth management and in the
business market, strengthen our presence in Greater Montréal, in Ontario and
elsewhere in Canada, while remaining extremely vigilant with respect to our
productivity," she noted.
    It is by capitalizing on existing assets that these challenges will have
to be met and Desjardins Group's development will have to be continued,
Ms. Leroux stressed.
    Nourishing five convictions that go above and beyond action plans, the
new President aims to create anchor points to serve as the focus for
Desjardins' strategic and operational reflection process.
    First of all, convinced that the caisses are the driving force behind
Desjardins Group, Ms. Leroux would like to strengthen their entrepreneurship
by enabling the officers and general managers to make a greater contribution
to the execution of network and Fédération strategies and projects. To that
effect, she proposes to position each caisse as a mirror of the "Desjardins
integrated cooperative financial group" within its community. In particular,
she believes in greater communication with the base, which is why she intends
to establish a direct link between the President's office and the caisse
officers and general managers by the end of 2008, to make it possible to "move
from intentions to action."
    Her second conviction relates to the role that the Fédération and the
subsidiaries must play in their service to the caisses. Thus, considering the
growing maturity of the network and the caisses, the role of the Fédération
will be called upon to grow as well. "I believe that the Fédération must play
a Group-wide orientation and integration role in terms of market strategies,
performance objectives for all subsidiaries and talent management, as well as
financial and technological management for the Group and the network," she
    The growth and strategic development of Desjardins Group is through the
caisses, supported by the subsidiaries. That is Ms. Leroux's third conviction,
as she believes it is essential that Desjardins' vision of growth be supported
by a solid foundation, and the basis of Desjardins Group's success be the
strength and vitality of the caisses in the regions and among groups. "We need
to continually seek out the best ways to enable each caisse to pursue its
growth within its own community and to support it with respect to its
particular issues," she explained.
    The development of the Greater Montréal area and the Canadian market as
well as of partnership opportunities with major cooperative financial groups
around the world are other aspects that Ms. Leroux intends to work on, just as
she plans to build up Desjardins' positioning in wealth management and
securities in the business and youth markets. With respect to the latter, she
stated, "I hope that we will be able to have regular discussions with young
people, through appropriate forums, so they can tell us what they expect from
the Desjardins of tomorrow."
    Her fourth conviction addresses human capital, what Ms. Leroux terms "our
greatest wealth and our strength for the future. To ensure the success and
continuity of Desjardins Group, we must be not only a preferred employer for
our managers and employees, but also a Group can engage and mobilize our
officers and general managers. In this spirit, we need to make sure that our
modes of governance, our democratic management and the way we work together
continue to provide leverage for engaging and mobilizing the people of
Desjardins," she asserted.
    The fifth conviction is that the values of cooperation must always be
central to Desjardins' actions. In that sense, convinced that it is through
teamwork that the best discussions on Group ambitions and governance will
emerge, the new president took advantage of this forum to announce an upcoming
Congress between now and the end of 2009. The resulting discussions would
provide Desjardins with a new momentum through which it will be able to meet
the challenges that await the Group with confidence and success.
    Monique F. Leroux concluded on this rallying note by saluting the caisse
officers and general managers, and the Fédération and subsidiary teams
attending the event. "Together, we have the power to make Desjardins Group the
most admired financial institution in Canada and the most respected for its
mission, its cooperative values, its caisses - which remain close to the
people - and its success! We have a clear mission and strong values that will
enable us to offer our members and communities a better life."

    About Desjardins Group

    The largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, with global
assets of over $144 billion as at December 31, 2007, Desjardins Group consists
of a network of caisses/branches, credit unions and financial centres for
Québec- and Ontario-based companies, as well as about 20 subsidiaries in life
and general insurance, securities, venture capital, and asset management, many
of which are active nationwide. With the skills of its 40,000 employees and
the commitment of more than 6,500 elected officers, Desjardins offers its
5.8 million members and clients-individuals and businesses alike-a full range
of financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
rounded out by virtual access methods supported by leading-edge technology.
For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.

For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau,
Information and Media Relations Director, (514) 281-7229, 1-866-866-7000, ext.
7229, andre.chapleau@desjardins.com; March 29: Press room at the Québec City
Convention Centre, (418) 649-5218

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