Access to property must become a social issue, says the head of Desjardins

The supply is insufficient in the market to keep pace with household demand, he explained in an interview on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Mouvement Desjardins, which took place in Quebec City on Saturday. It is clear at the moment that there is a lack of seats. There is an insufficient number of dwellings. There are an insufficient number of accommodations. That is clear. It is documented.

Last fall, the Association of Construction and Housing Professionals of Quebec (APCHQ) said it estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 housing units were missing in Quebec.

We need to find a way to build more housing, says the great head of the Mouvement Desjardins. We need to promote construction even more actively, always with respect for the environment and sustainable development, but we need to promote the construction of new places where people will be able to live.

Desjardins Group wants to help increase supply in the market by investing hundreds of millions in social housing, he added. The cooperative movement also leads discussions with the various levels of government to implement specific projects.

More challenges for young people

Finding affordable housing is not the only challenge for young people, worries Mr Cormier, who devoted much of his speech to equality between the generations.

Climate change, so far, it must be said that the decisions and actions that have been taken have clearly not been up to the challenges, the real threat that we face.he warned during his speech. There is the aging of the population. Yes, it also worries young people because they will be much less likely to pay and take on the increase in health care costs.

In an interview and in his speech, Mr Cormier also mentioned the war in Ukraine, which is causing further geopolitical uncertainty. Among other things, he also addressed the state of public finances, which will inherit the youngest taxpayers, and the quality of road infrastructure.

Have we reached the point where the next generations will be in a worse position than the previous ones? I do not think we have reached that turning point, but I think the responsible generation really needs to integrate a youth benefit into these thoughts, he replied. You can not just make decisions for the next quarter or for the next fiscal year.

Technology investments

The Desjardins Group held its annual meeting in hybrid mode for the first time since the start of the pandemic. More than 500 members attended the Quebec City Convention Center on Saturday. Clearly, everyone was wearing their mask and there was distance, but just being able to look each other in the eyes. I saw people so happysays its president and CEO.

The meeting took place after a favorable year for the cooperative. Nearly 83,000 new members joined its ranks in 2021. Earnings before dividends increased by 21.6%, or $ 523 million, to reach $ 2.9 billion, still in 2021.

The year 2022 will be marked by one acceleration of the pace in technology projects, Mr Cormier said. Desjardins plans to invest approximately $ 2 billion in technology annually over the next four to five years.

Cybersecurity will remain a major budget item with an amount of nearly $ 375 million a year. This is a marked increase from the $ 100-150 million spent on it before the massive leak of personal data in 2019. Nearly 1,200 employees are now working to prevent and detect fraud.

Among the technological projects in the pipeline, Mr Cormier gave the project for voice recognition as an example. Options menus: do one, do 3, do 8, return to the main menu, it’s over at Desjardinshe informed the members.

Desjardins is now able to identify its customers with the voice, the manager said in an interview. To achieve this, the cooperative recorded more than 5,000 voices to capture the various intonations and accents spoken in Quebec. When people call, we will just be able to record through their voice what they are asking us, and we will be able to answer them automatically without them having to follow a voice menu.

The organization is currently testing the system at certain customer contact points. Voice recognition should be implemented for all call centers in a horizon between 2022 and 2024.

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