Outpouring of solidarity within Desjardins Group: $1 million raised for
Haitian financial cooperatives

LÉVIS, QC, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, Desjardins Group initiated a fundraising campaign among its officers, employees and retirees. The goal of the campaign was to raise $1 million. Desjardins Group is proud to announce today that solidarity and cooperation have once again made a difference and that the $1 million objective has even been surpassed. In fact, the campaign has raised one million thirteen thousand dollars ($1,013,000).

With its presence in Haiti for over 15 years through its component, Développement international Desjardins (DID), Desjardins Group announced shortly after the quake its intention to support its partner, Le Levier federation, in rebuilding its financial cooperative network and in helping to boost economic recovery. "We are happy to see that cooperation knows no boundaries for our officers, employees and retirees. We called upon their generosity to come to the aid of a partner in difficulty and they responded with this vast outpouring of solidarity", declared Mr. Jacques Dignard, Senior Vice-President, People and Culture for Desjardins Group.

The help provided to Le Levier federation, which will be overseen by DID, will come in the form of both financial support and the sending of personnel qualified for temporary missions lasting several weeks. Ms. Anne Gaboury, President and CEO of DID said she was touched to see that interest for Haiti has not tapered off with time and stated that resources are currently on location to help Le Levier federation. "We already have a team based in Port-au-Prince who was able to analyze our partner's needs and we are working hard on the reconstruction. The funds raised as well as the specialized workforce we are offering to Haitian financial cooperatives will breathe new life to their activities affected by the quake", Ms. Gaboury mentioned.

Following the earthquake, Desjardins Group made a $300,000 donation to the Red Cross to which was added $1 million donated by Desjardins members through the caisse network.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of over $165 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.

About DID

Développement international Desjardins (DID) is a component of Desjardins Group. For 40 years now it has supported the creation, development and strengthening of financial institutions in over twenty countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. Specialized in providing technical support and investment for the community finance sector, DID draws on the rich and diverse experience acquired through collaboration with numerous partners, and on the 100 years of experience of Desjardins Group, the largest cooperative financial group in Canada. DID works in partnership with the Canadian International Development Agency, the World Bank and other multilateral organizations. For more information, visit www.did.qc.ca.

About Le Levier federation in Haïti

The Le Levier federation works with 50 base cooperatives and 23 service outlets, located throughout the country's 10 departments. In Haiti, the coops have 340,000 members and clients including entrepreneurs. If we consider the total number of people reached by the network, we are talking about over 1.5 million individuals who benefit directly or indirectly from the services of these savings and credit cooperatives. Women account for over 40% of members and clients of the coops. A dozen coops and service outlets are located in the zone affected by the January 12 earthquake.

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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