CAOAYAN, Ilocos Sur – From a capital of P13,500 to P3.8 billion is indeed a story from rags to riches.
But this story is no fairytale as Divina Quemi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC), narrated during a Kapihan Iti Amianan Media Forum over the weekend the struggles the coop went through until it became a nationally-recognized, multi-awarded cooperative.
Quemi, who is also the No. 1 bet of Party List Coop Natco for party-list representative in the 2019 elections, said that what the coop concentrated in was the needs of the people and its members especially in the grassroots level.
“We extended lending services to our farmer-members at a very low interest of only 6% plus 1% processing fee per annum and then tied up with line agencies that have special programs on agriculture. We also tied up with the Department of Agriculture and the LGUs,” she said.
The move helped these farmer-members cope with their problem on borrowing from loan sharks or financial institutions that are demanding high interest rates.
“We did not divert from our original objective of helping our people especially our farmers, in fact we now have this program of buying their palay products and they can even pay palay for their loans,” she said.
She also said that NSCC is also lending money to garlic farmers at 6% per annum from a capital provided by Congressman DV Savellano with the condition that these garlic farmers will follow the suggested package protocol technology.
“That’s why we have this total package help for our farmers, from rice planting to garlic and onion farming,” she said.
She also announced the failure of a House move to tax cooperatives.
“That’s why the coop community owes much to Congressman DV and Congressman Eric (Singson) who sympathized with us by affixing their signatures to oppose this House move,” she said.
She also warned the people to read all loan contracts with financial institutions before they sign any document to avoid entering into a contract with “hidden agenda,” like paying for the loans of members in a common group in case a member cannot pay or when availing of a loan with a product clause where the payment of the product is already deducted from the total loan amount.
NSCC has also ventured in college education by acquiring Macro Colleges which also offers various courses in business and cooperativism.
“We now have 340 enrollees under top-caliber instructors and we are growing,” she said. She added that another secret is to get away from the traditional mindset, open the mind to new ventures and maintain the coop in good standing.
She also assured investors that all investments are protected.
“We are maintaining a 15% liquidity which is higher than the standard. We have general assembly where each member will know what’s happening in the cooperative. The more deposits investors have, the more they have to visit the coop to monitor the coop operations,” she said.
NSCC’s programs are anchored on NSCC FACTS which stands for Financial Services, Agro-Enterprise and Marketing, Capability Building Services and Social Services. It now has 15 branches all over Northern Luzon with multi-million businesses. NSCC owns NSCC Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, NSCC Hotel Vigan, NSCC Bath and Coffee Shop and NSCC Hotel Grande.
The birth of NSCC was the brainchild of Bishop Orlando Quevedo and Msgr. Ambrose Cabildo. The coop was registered in 1992 with Quemi, a former loans officer of Caritas Nueva Segovia, as the first manager. It initially had 3 employees in 1992 and now has more than 200 employees. (Edward B. Antonio)