The Microfinance Innovations in Cooperatives or MICOOP Project was launched in 2006 as a special project that seeks to extend the reach of co-op microfinance services to the poorest of the poor who desire to engage in micro, small and medium enterprises but have no access to formal lending institutions and/or are dependent on informal lenders who charge usurious loan rates.
The project is being implemented based on a scheme whereby NATCCO enters into partnership with a viable and qualified co-op to help the co-op put up new branches or satellite offices in areas of high poverty incidence. The co-op has the option to choose between the build-operate-adapt-transfer (BOAT) or the 50/50 partnership scheme.
These branches open co-op membership to the communities so they can be member-owners of the co-op, and avail of financial services like deposits and social services like livelihood training.
Mother co-ops have the option to buy-out the NATCCO shares, as has been done in 30 branches.
By June 2008, the MICOOP had established 59 branches strategically located all over the country and garnered a total outreach of 79,550.
By yearend 2012, the sixth year of implementation, 86 branches have been put up. After the end of contract negotiations, 54 offices are left, after the mother cooperatives assumed full management of 32 MICOOP offices.
MICOOP is a world of women as 75% of the 99,189 members are women. 77% of the borrowing members are also women.
Total Assets in 2012 was P749 million, and the members have pooled a total share capital of P168 million. Deposits of P149 million is 20% of the Assets.
A total of P1.1 billion in loans was released in 2012.
FRAMEWORK & INNOVATIONS.
Since 2006, MICOOP has undergone major changes in its framework. All of these are done to ensure success of the branches. Causes for problems are identified, lessons are learned, and actions are taken to ensure not to commit the same mistake.
Regular monthly reports are required from the different offices. This allows in-depth insight into the operations.
There are currently 18 Assistant Managers who oversee the MICOOP operations of the 61 offices. Seven Roving Internal Auditors (RIAs) conduct audits at various stages of the implementation to ensure the integrity of the financial statements and identify action areas for improvement in the processes.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Prior to opening a MICOOP office, the officers and the hired management and staff of the partner-coop undergo rigorous 20-day training and onsite immersion to ensure that the MICOOP operation will be managed well.
MICOOP & NATCCO’S MISSION
MICOOP is a concrete action in translating into action the NATCCO Mission – “to build and strengthen the socio-economic capabilities of cooperatives through the delivery of superior financial products and allied services.”
MICOOP is not just about microfinance. It is about expansion and transformation. This is relevant since 91% of cooperatives are small or micro.
AGRARIAN REFORM CO-OPS
MICOOP has gained the interest of the Department of Agrarian Reform in transforming Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Cooperatives. NATCCO and DAR are now on a tight partnership to push the success of Agrarian Reform Cooperatives by providing microfinance services to farmers and get affordable food on the Filipino table.
The MICOOP Group now oversees 34 ARCs.
The NATCCO MICCOP Project has as its reliable partners the Postal Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, OIKOCREDIT, Bank IM Bistum Essen, and Plan International. The program has also received additional grants from CORDAID and CODE NGO.