CAGAYAN DE ORO City, March 21, 2011â€”Despite problems and factionalism within its board of directors (BOD), the First Community Cooperative (FICCO) continues to blaze the trail in the Philippinesâ€™ cooperative movement as the countryâ€™s biggest cooperative.
With a total membership breaching the 140,000 mark, assets surpassing the P4.59 billion mark, shares of P1.6 billion and deposits amounting to P2.09 billion, FICCO soars high year after year for 56 years now.
As the leading cooperative in the Philippines, FICCO continue to increase its contribution to the economy of its birthplace, Mindanao.
In 2010 alone, FICCO released almost P4 billion in loans to its members. During the last five years, its loan releases totaled P15.3 billion.
â€œThe multiplier effect of these infusions in terms of taxes paid, employment generated and confidence earned is immeasurable, validating once more FICCOâ€™s role as catalyst in Mindanao,â€ said BOD chair Luis S. Yap in his report to the members during the general assembly of the cooperativeâ€™s different branches this month.
However, FICCOâ€™s profitability rate decreased by 1.2 percent from the 2009 rate of 48.6% to only P47.4% in 2010 as its return on asset rate also decrease last year to 6.4% from 6.5% in 2009.
â€œDespite the lower profitability rate, dividend and patronage refund rates increased,â€ said Yap.
In 2010, FICCOâ€™s dividend rate was 11% compared to 2009â€™s 10.75% while its patronage refund in 2010 was 10% compared to 2009â€™s 9.75%. FICCO also provided a superior 8% yield of membersâ€™ time deposits.
â€œThese clearly reflect the values and principles on which the FICCO management is bounded: good governance, quality of service, sacrifice, volunteerism and efficiency,â€ Yap said.
Yap also said that FICCO, as the leading light in the cooperative movement, is leading the charge of achieving the cooperative
He noted that despite the cooperative movementâ€™s leadersâ€™ conclusion that â€œwe cannot uniteâ€ because of losing oneâ€™s stage and perks, FICCO continues to lift high the torch of hope that this elusive unity can be achieved.
â€œRecent developments provided a glimmer of hope for coops in this country to still achieve that elusive unity. Last yearâ€™s Coop Summit, from its preparations, to the actual summit activities, up to the post-summit follow-up meetings, was and is geared towards uniting the coop movement in this country. FICCO is at the forefront of these activities as it holds the enviable position of being ahead in promoting one coop bank, one coop insurance, one coop asset management. In short, FICCO leads the putting up of an integrated coop financial system (ICFS),â€ he said.
FICCO strongly believes that through the ICFS, the cooperativesâ€™ goal of redistributing the wealth, alleviating poverty and building the Philippines can be achieved. (Bong D. Fabe)