The following post is provided by the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), a World Council associate member.
27 CEOs and managers of cooperatives from the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives and the National Confederation of Cooperatives attended a workshop on "Building Financial Resilience of Members through MSMEs" from October 26-28. They were trained to be business coaches who can help promote the development of MSMEs as a way to help members recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, many credit union members have become unemployed or underemployed due to the prolonged pandemic and widespread virus infection. Credit unions have suffered financial impacts, as members who lost income did not have an emergency fund to cover expenses and debt services. As a result, some credit unions have experienced rising loan and payment delinquencies affecting their revenue. At the same time, they are also experiencing high liquidity levels, because the issuance of new loans has slowed.
Pattaripan "Thum" Pongwat, an MSME consultant served as the keynote speaker for the workshop, introduced the concepts of business development. She shared her 30 years of experience in assisting entrepreneurs in product development and innovation in Thailand and the Philippines. Thum demonstrated some products she innovated using local materials and applying the ingenuity of people, including people with disabilities.
She suggested that cooperatives should assist its members to become successful MSMEs by:
- providing them market knowledge.
- promoting the value chain.
- linking them to technical skills providers.
- training them in managing their business.
These all can be done only if a credit union has established Business Development Service (BDS) Unit.
After the workshop, the participants were tasked to prepare a profile of members engaged in business and select entrepreneurs they will assist in scaling up their business.
"Credit unions should support the development of MSMEs to uplift the living standards of members, especially those who severely suffered from the impacts of COVID 19," said ACCU CEO Leni San Roque.