Mindanao Microfinance Council sees potential in crisis
By RG Alama
Davao City (16 June) -- Instead of wallowing in pessimism amidst the economic crisis, the Mindanao Microfinance Council Inc (MMFCI) is seeing it in positive light.
Speaking before the members of the local media at the Kapihan sa Dabaw at Café Rhysus, SM City-Davao last June 15. Jeffrey Ordoņez, executive director of the Mindanao Microfinance Council said they are positive that the impact of the crisis will not affect much. He said that job losses will be offset by more people engaging in income and job-generating entrepreneurial activity.
Presently, the MMFCI has about 600,000 clients mostly people engage in micro-enterprise, their target is that by 2010, the MMFCI would have served one-million clients all over Mindanao . Current loans to clients and members have stood at around P800-million.
Ordoņez said that at present members are taking precautionary measures because of the uncertain times, holding back entrepreneurial expansion. They are also expecting a slowdown particularly on clients and sectors dependent on agriculture particularly those in the coconut industry, which has been hit by low copra prices. Also affected are those dependent on overseas remittances.
He said the aim of the MMFCI is for micro-entrepreneurs to expand their enterprises like going to small-scale enterprises. Their loans are being used to help achieve that objective, current average amount of loans is about P10,000-P20,000 with a repayment rate of 95 to 100%.
Ordoņez says a sari-sari store owner with the loan can expand to a bigger business like a small grocery which services a local community. In able to achieve that, aside from loans MMFCI are providing clients and members with technical assistance like entrepreneurship trainings and best practices showcase.
MMFCI was formed in 2003 by 32 Mindanao Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) who organized themselves with the aim of helping in the economic development of Mindanao and the eradication of extreme poverty in the region through microfinance. As of February 2008 MMFCI has a total of 42 regular member institutions composed of 22 rural banks, nine non-government organizations, eight cooperatives and four cooperative banks. (PIA XI) [top]