MONTREAL: Desjardins Group president and CEO Monique Leroux will participate in an online chat with people under 30 as part of the financial group's effort to attract younger customers.
Desjardins' “school caisse” program includes 100 primary schools in Quebec and 100 in Ontario with an active school trust where more than 120,000 students deposit their savings. But André Chapleau, director of information and media relations at Desjardins, said when these students become young adults, a good portion of them switch their money over to one of the big banks.
“We want to get closer to the younger generations, and understand their concerns. We weren't being proactive enough to retain their business, and we have since acknowledged that. It is in that context that we have decided to do things differently,” Chapleau said. “Desjardins has strong points to offer young people, but we also have weaknesses. We want to better understand their needs, and find better ways to answer them.”
The two-hour chat for 15-to-30 year olds is scheduled for Friday, October 17, at noon. Chapleau added that while this initiative was in development for some time, the chat should prove timely given the number of young people that might be feeling uncertain given the struggling economy and the outcome of the federal election.
In addition to the chat, there's an online survey at Desjardins.com. Chapleau noted that the survey is designed for young people, but that the company also hopes to hear from their parents as well. To encourage survey completion, participants can win a prize worth $10,000. Desjardins' youth outreach is being promoted at its credit union locations, which total 514 in Quebec and 22 in Ontario.