Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcoming the Newest Partners of MCPI

Paglaum MPC, Rural Bank of Roxas and FicoBank

The Microfinance Council of the Philippines warmly welcomes its newest regular members: the Paglaum Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the Rural Bank of Pres. M.A. Roxas (ZN), Inc. and the First Isabela Coop Bank, Inc. The three institutions were formally accepted and declared as MCPI members in the 2009 Annual General Meeting.

Paglaum MPC is the second cooperative to be part of the network. It was established in 1992 as a livelihood arm of the Paglaum Community Development Foundation, Inc. (PCDFI), a child-centered, community-oriented organization. Paglaum MPC began as a micro-enterprise to assist the mothers of the poor children in the community of Plaridel, Misamis Oriental. From palay trading, the cooperative has ventured into a host of economic endeavors, encouraging the poorest in the locality to participate in different gainful activities. Presently, Paglaum MPC has an outreach of 18, 000, employee roster of 184 and Php 170 million in assets. Mr. Gadwin Handumon is its General Manager.

The Rural Bank of Roxas (RB Roxas) in Dipolog City was established in 2000 as a local response to the call for poverty alleviation in the country. As a microfinance program, it was organized to help the poor access credit and to promote savings awareness among people with meager resources. RB Roxas is the 2005 recipient of the Unwavering Commitment to the Microfinance Cause Award from the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC). The bank was hailed for its effort to reach clients in the remote areas in the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Misamis Occidental. Its present outreach covers 31 municipalities and it has almost 6,000 active clients. RB Roxas has 52 personnel spread in its six (6) branches. Its General Manager is Ms. Rosa Ruales Lim.

First Isabela Cooperative Bank, Inc., a pioneer in the field of cooperative banking, was established in the province of Isabela in 1976. To date, its operation spans four (4) provinces and nine (9) branches in the northernmost region of the Philippines. FICOBank’s microfinance program started since 1998 and has since grown to reach more than 1,000 active micro-borrowers with a loan portfolio of over Php30 million. FICOBank is a recipient of numerous awards: EAGLE Achiever in Microfinance Performance (USAID-MABS and RBAP); Outstanding Cooperative Bank in the Philippines, 1995 to 2007 (Landbank Gawad Pitak Annual Award) and Number One in Financial Performance Award (Bangkoop). FICOBank takes pride in having produced the Citi-Microentrepreneur of the Year Awardees in 2002 and 2007. Mr. Herminio Ocampo is the president and CEO of FICOBank.

Understanding the Crisis, Gearing up for Recovery

MCPI Annual Conference Tackled the Economic Crisis

"Overconsumption in the American economy brought about the present global economic crisis", said Dr. Cayetano Paderanga of IDEA, keynote speaker at the MCPI Annual Conference held at the Century Park Sheraton Manila last May 12-13, 2009 with the theme, Understanding the Crisis, Gearing up for Recovery. Dr. Paderanga, an Economics expert and Central Bank Monetary Board member for nine (9) years, depicted the economic progress of the US in the last two decades as bubble growth the explosion of which had world-wide repercussions.

MFI clients, Ms. Dolores Banaag (CARD) and Ms. Cloudy Rain Buendia (TSPI), reactors to Dr. Paderanga’s presentation, confirmed that the crisis has found its way to the Philippine microfinance sector. Their micro-businesses have experienced a fall in demand due to the high prices of goods and the lower consumption of their regular buyers.

Ms. Teresa Ganzon (Bangko Kabayan), Ms. Mean Ignacio (Kasagana-Ka Development Center) and Mr. Gadwin Handumon (Paglaum Cooperative), MFI presenters, said that there was a slight decrease in the number and sizes of microfinance loans for the period 2008-2009. However, it was also during the same period that these MFIs ventured to increase their outreach and to diversify their products.

Mr. Christopher Tan of Grameen Foundation (GF); Mr. Josaias Dela Cruz of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI); Mr. Edgar Generoso of People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC) and; Ms. Gondelina Amata of National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) explained the possibility that funding may be delayed due to the crisis. On the other hand, they stressed that more credit windows and support facilities will be available to MFIs during these hard times.

The conference participants agreed that generally, there may be more opportunities than threats during the crisis. Challenges can be overcome given the players’ proper understanding of the economic situation and their prudent actions. Recovery may just be around the corner, chorused Dr. Paderanga and PinoyMe Foundation's Danilo Songco.

The Conference also took up continuing concerns in the Practitioners Learning Workshops (PLWs). These were Agriculture Microfinance; Leadership Succession; Over-indebtedness of Clients; Progress in Micro Insurance; Delinquency Management; Organizing Micro-MBA and; The Changing World of Governing MFIs. Now on their 6th year, the PLWs are workshop sessions organized to facilitate exchanges on topics of interest among MFIs.

Improving Services Expanding Partnerships

Council Elects New Set of Officers

The Microfinance Council of the Philippines conferred a mandate to a fresh Board of Trustees on its 9th Annual General Meeting held last May 12, 2009. The new President of the network is TSPI Development Corporation’s Executive Director, Mr. Ruben de Lara. Zamboanga-based MFI, KFI Center for Community Development Foundation (KCCDFI), gets a seat in the council in the person of its CEO, Mr. Rodolfo Quinday. The newly elected officers are:

President: TSPI -- Mr. Ruben de Lara

Vice-President: NWTF -- Dr. Cecilia del Castillo

Secretary: CARD -- Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip

Treasurer: ASHI -- Ms. Mila Mercado-Bunker

Internal Auditor: KCCDFI -- Mr. Rodolfo Quinday

Members: ASKI -- Mr. Rolando Victoria and MILAMDEC -- Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, S.J.

On their first MCPI Board meeting in May 2009, Mr. de Lara welcomed the members of the Board. He also asked for their support in implementing the programs of the network. In particular, Mr. de Lara enjoined the officers to work together in finding ways to improve MCPI’s services to members and to expand its partnerships.

The 2009-2010 Board of Trustees is the seventh set of officers since MCPI was formally constituted in 2001. Mr. de Lara was also the MCPI president in 2003-2004.