National Bank Annual Meeting: a financial group focused on the future on the occasion of its 150th anniversary

Quebec City, 27 February 2009 - 

National Bank Financial Group held its annual shareholders’ meeting in Quebec City today, during which it kicked off its 150th anniversary celebrations. On May 4, 1859, a group of businesspeople from Quebec City founded what they called at the time the “Banque Nationale,” an event that the Bank has chosen to mark by holding its annual meeting in the city where it all began and where it still has a strong and growing presence.

“After a century and a half, our financial group is still very proud to be a key driver of economic and social development in the regions where it is present,” said Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer. “And on the occasion of our 150th anniversary, National Bank Financial Group is focused squarely on the future.”

During fiscal 2008, the Bank implemented its organizational transformation plan, the purpose of which is to review all its processes and practices. The result will be improved efficiency and financial solutions that are easily accessible and better able to meet needs and expectations. “Our objective is to remain one of the best super-regional banks in the world by leveraging our knowledge of the markets that we serve, our agility and the continuing diversity of our activities,” said Mr. Vachon. “Between 2009 and 2011, this will mean large investments, including in branches, with more than 150 slated to be renovated or relocated and 14 new ones to be opened.”

National Bank is well positioned to act, as it has a high level of liquidity, is very well capitalized and has a vast, solid loan portfolio. The Bank is presently creating hundreds of new positions in the sectors that deal directly with clients to ensure that its business objectives are fully met and to be even closer to clients.

During his address, Mr. Vachon shared his views on the impact of the financial crisis. Right away, he showed that the Canadian banking system, one of the most solid systems in the world, could still be counted on to support its clients, especially in terms of credit availability.

However, the difficult economic situation will result in slower growth in the revenues of banking institutions, which will continue to fight hard to earn market share.

“It is a great responsibility, honour and privilege to be the President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank. On the occasion of our 150th anniversary, we should take the time to celebrate this group success story, think of those who made it all possible, but also remind ourselves that we are confident in the future and that, together, we are capable of achieving great things.”

About National Bank of Canada
National Bank of Canada, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2009, is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. The National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. National Bank has close to $137 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs 17,199 people. The Bank’s securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank’s website at
www.nbc.ca.

Information
(The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.):

Denis Dubé
Senior Manager, Public Relations
National Bank Financial Group
Tel.: 514-394-8644