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The Benguet State University Multipurpose Cooperative (BSU MPC) was registered on September 16, 1999 as a result of the consolidation of Benguet State University Credit Cooperative and MSAC Teachers and Employees Consumers Cooperatives that were operating in the University campus. Records show that there were 17 cooperators (7 male and 10 female) and its bond of membership was institutional. About 227 original members from the academe pooled their resources and the initial capital was about P5,755,786.42. The founding cooperators include Carlos Buasen Sr.; Silvestre Kudan; Mary Porte; Erlinda Bestre; Evangeline Cungihan; Carlota Lubrica; Ben Luis; Rosita Bawang; Darlyn Tagarino; Bienvinedo Balweg; Marlene Atinyao; Wilfredo Estolas; Macario Cadatal; Hilda Lubos ; Teresita Palaez; Timotea Vitales; and Josefina Botacion. Nine Board of Directors composed of Carlos Buasen Sr.; Silvestre Kudan; Mary Porte; Erlinda Bestre; Marlene Atinyao; Macario Cadatal; Timotea Vitales; Hilda Lubos and Feliciano delos Santos who were previous members of the consumers and credit cooperatives.

In its first 4 years of operation as a consolidated cooperative, it had a part time manager with about 7 full-time staff. Net surpluses for the period 1999-2001 were favorable but gradually declined in 2003 when it incurred (24,380.23) net surplus.

An analysis on the four year operation done by its founding chairperson, Dr. Carlos Buasen, Sr. indicated several factors that affected the cooperative operations like share capital withdrawal by retirees and transferees; share capital withdrawal by members going on panic due to rumor or false alarm; write-off of non-existing assets, damages; delinquency of loans which hampered releases of loans applied by other members; poor patronage by members of the consumers operation and delinquency of purchase accounts of some members; lose of moral values among employees; inadequate/loose operational management(part-time manager was not able to cope with management control, lose of moral values among employees affecting some officers and members). Some of the identified immediate remedial measures include the employment of full-time manager, restructuring of operations and re-orientation of members , officers and employees staff.

Faced with the gargantuan obligation and herculean task to reverse the downward trend of the cooperative operations in order to provide the needed services to its members, the Board of Directors implemented the identified remedial measures. The number of employees was reduced to 4 with the termination of personnel who were allegedly contributory to the high delinquency rate and the hiring of a new Manager in May 2004. Part of the restructuring of cooperative operations was continuing PMES spearheaded by Dr. Silvestre Kudan; access of funds from secondary cooperatives (with the help of one officer who voluntarily offered real estate property as collateral) and from primary cooperatives supportive of the inter-cooperative borrowing scheme. Manual of Policies were revisited and new provisions were incorporated like the adoption of payroll deduction on loans availed by employees of the University. Persistency in the collection of receivables; intensified campaign for additional share capital and savings deposit by management and officers restored the confidence of investors in patronizing the services of cooperative.

Determined to hurdle the development challenges the full support of the Board of Directors and committees, loyal members, three remaining personnel and the new General Manager, Ms. Jane Tauli-Asiong steered the cooperative to an upward trend leading to increase in total assets, paid-up capital; net surplus; reduction in outstanding loan balances; declining delinquency rate and cleansing of members registry.

At the end of December 2004 the cooperative generated a positive net surplus amounting to P 271,394.75. The favorable cooperative performance was sustained with entry of additional members and the return of old members who withdrew during the critical stage of operations. Undoubtedly, the knowledge and expertise of the new manager on cooperatives was one of the key factors that unlocked the potentials of BSU MPC to grow.

In 2006, the management and officers of the cooperative decided to amend its Articles of Cooperation and by-laws specifically its objectives; kinds of members; area of operation; common bond of membership from institutional to residential paving the way for acceptance of community residents as members of the cooperative. Further, the cooperative attained its first million net surplus and reduced its delinquency rate from a record high of 87% in 2003 and 2004 to 17% in 2007. The growth trend resulted in the granting of high interests (10-22%) on share capital and patronage refund to members. With growth in membership and increase in volume of business in 2008, the cooperative management decided to computerize its operation leading to the adoption of the e-coop program developed purposely for cooperatives.

Year 2009 was a fruitful year for BSU MPC when its original membership tripled; paid up share capital and its 1 million net surplus doubled as a result of increased patronage on the credit operations; good governance; sagacious financial management; vertical and horizontal integration and continuing education of officers, members and staff.

Remarkable milestones of the cooperative continuously soar with the cooperative attaining its status as large cooperative in 2011 and sustaining a yearly 100 million increase in assets for the past three years (2012-2014). Likewise, membership had tremendously increased; its credit business operations expanded and other business opportunities identified. One impressive milestone was the initiative of management to penetrate local government units and recruited its officials and employees to become members of the cooperative. Given the previous experiences, Memorandum of Agreements and adoption of the payroll deduction scheme helped lessen delinquency rates encountered by the cooperative. Moreover, the increase in single borrowers limit to P 2.5 million and innovations in the packaging of cooperative services attracted more members.

Current business operations and social services include lending, real estate leasing; remittances; bills payment (BENECO and LTWD); booking and ticketing (domestic and international); health assistance; mutual assistance; scholarship and the latest is housing.

Having attained sufficient capital and high liquidity, BSU MPC gradually reciprocated the kindness of secondary cooperatives during its critical stage by adding investments and patronizing the services offered by its apex organizations. BSU MPC is affiliated with the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO); Metro South Cooperative Bank; Northern Luzon Federation of Cooperatives Development Center (NORLU-CEDEC); Cooperative Bank of Benguet (CBB); Cordillera Administrative Region Cooperative Union and Benguet Provincial Cooperative Union. Also, it is actively involved in the municipal, provincial and regional development councils; CDA sponsored activities and other cooperative related activities.

Comparative financial data of 2014 and 2015 operations revealed an increase by 45% on the total assets from P 404 million to P 587 million; net surplus surged by 33% from P 23.7M to P 31.5M and membership grew by 33% from 13,918 to 18,558 respectively. At present there are 13 regular employees of the cooperative with 2 satellite offices located in Abatan and Loo, Buguias, Benguet.

Some of the best practices learned from the BSU MPC experiences are: Conduct of monthly Pre-membership Education Seminar; Regular Conduct of Annual General Assembly Meeting; Business Expansion and Diversification; Cooperative Updates through radio broadcast and print; Minimize Expense; Computerization of business operation; Attendance to training, cooperative activities by officers, management staff and members; periodic planning and assessment; vertical and horizontal integration (putting up of satellites); local and international exposures/tours and support to federations and unions.

You might be asking yourselves why rocketing cooperative in CAR? Barely in its 16 years of operation, BSU MPC had surpassed the performance of other cooperatives previously registered before and just after the enactment of RA 6938 and 6939. While it took some cooperatives 20-30 years to reach half a billion asset, this primary cooperative located in CAR did it in a shorter span of time. Having an exceptional performance, we are looking forward to another billionaire cooperative in the North within the next five years.

Join us in extending our felicitations to the members, management staff and officers for raising the bar of cooperatives in CAR and the whole country. (Lotes P. Lab-oyan, CDA-CAR)

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