The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) have joined hands anew for the Financial Inclusion Through Cooperatives (FIT-Coop) Program, an initiative that will provide capacity-building support to micro and small cooperatives in unbanked and underserved areas nationwide.
LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo and CDA Chairman Orlando R. Ravanera led the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), together with CDA Executive Director Ray R. Elevazo and LANDBANK Agricultural and Development Lending Sector Head Executive Vice President Liduvino S. Geron.
Through the FIT-Coop Program, a total of 220 cooperatives with more than 31,000 members from 92 unbanked municipalities all over the country will undergo financial literacy trainings that would better prepare them to access formal credit assistance.
“The signing of this MOA for the FIT-Coop Program is a momentous and historical event—a great breakthrough in putting those in the margins into the mainstream of the development process. This will also be a great leap forward for CDA to fulfill its mandate to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of social justice and economic development,” CDA Chairman Ravanera said.
LANDBANK President Borromeo said the FIT-Coop Program is also a clear display of the Bank’s continuous commitment to reach the smallest cooperatives in the most far-flung areas and empower them to become catalysts for inclusive growth in the countryside.
“LANDBANK is no stranger to cooperativism. We know that a lot more can be done if we collaborate with them. Communities have transformed into very progressive local economies because of cooperatives. The crucial thing is we strengthen the weak micro and small cooperatives so that they can grow and access formal lending programs,” President Borromeo said.
Under the FIT-Coop Program, assesment tools from both CDA and LANDBANK were utilized to develop the Cooperative Assessment Tool—an instrument which will measure a cooperative’s maturity level and readiness for different support services.
In addition, an Environmental Mapping or Scanning Tool was likewise devised to identify necessary but missing facilities in the community which hamper the cooperative’s growth and development.
The CDA and LANDBANK will then refer the data collected from these tools to relevant government agencies to further help cooperatives thru possible developmental interventions.
President Borromeo added that this strategy is very much aligned with the Duterte Administration’s “whole-of-government approach”, wherein relevant government agencies collaborate and synergize efforts to achieve more significant results.
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