The ongoing opening of FICCO Business Centers (FBCs) in such places as Medina, Lugait, and Initao, Misamis Oriental, as well as in Kiwalan and wet market in Iligan City, Linamon in Lanao del Norte, Nasipit Agusan del Norte, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, Surigao City, Ozamiz City and Kadingilan, Bukidnon is in pursuit of this year’s theme: “FICCO: Reaching Out to More Communities.” This theme is actually a reiteration of the one adopted in the early 90’s when FICCO started to branch out that states “FICCO: Bringing Services Closer to the Members.”
The earlier theme became the cutting edge strategy that brought many benefits to FICCO as an organization in particular, and the membership in general. It catapulted FICCO to become the number one cooperative in the country in terms of membership and capital, as well as the number one community type cooperative all categories. It highlighted FICCO’s lead role and enabled it to pursue ambitious program of building an integrated coop financial system (ICFS). The ICFS envisions a strong unified coop banks and coop insurance system. These ICFS components are slowly taking shape with FICCOs investments in coop banks and CLIMBS.
When FICCO’s membership widened as an offshoot of the branching out, the coop was able to spend many of its fixed costs. This offset the initial high cost of opening and cultivating new markets. Thus, the return to members did not suffer. The wide based also positioned FICCO to offer more products and services at reasonable costs.
FICCO’s branching out also became the model of other enterprising cooperatives that also opened branches or satellite offices outside of their original area of operation. FICCO’s pioneering move sparked an unprecedented dynamism among coops in Mindanao, a dynamism never seen before anywhere in the country. These Mindanao coops brought financial intermediation even far flung places of the island.
The move to reach out to more communities is driven by transcendent desires of sharing the beautiful things FICCO bring to people. At present, there are still millions out there who have no access to competitively priced credit, insurance and other services. The products and services that FICCO offers provide a wide array of options that people can choose from according to their specific needs. At the same time these services insulate people, especially the grassroots, from the vagaries of life.
The opening of FBCs also has some positive impact to the pockets of our members. When this years theme was conceptualize, the price of gasoline was still P35 per liter and diesel at P28. These have since gone up to over P60 per liter for gasoline and P57 for diesel, with no end in sight. With soaring oil prices triggering the increases in prices of basic necessities, members will find some comfort I knowing there is a FICCO office near their homes and workplaces. This proximity will enable them to cut down on transport cost and transaction time.
Thus, the move to open FBCs turned out to be a timely response to the recent economic upheaval brought about by the unprecedented oil price increases and the worldwide food crisis. Let us pray the FICCO members will be blessed with enough ingenuity and industry to explore other business opportunities, ride out the present crises, and emerge even stronger with the help of our cooperative.
However, let us all be aware that the success or failure of these business centers hinges much on the support and cooperation of members living or working near the said centers. If these members will unequivocally sell the FICCO idea to their friends, relatives, neighbors, office mates, and acquaintances, there is no reason for these FBCs to fail. If we come to think of it, FICCO grew not because of high priced advertisement effort but through word of mouth. Come on, make your move. (ibdaba 7/16/2008)