Staff members and management of the Wesley Savings and Multipurpose Cooperative hold hands in prayer during a meeting at their office in San Isidro, Philippines. The cooperative’s purpose is “to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity and quality of life of people,” said the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez, top executive of the cooperative. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez.
By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
July 31, 2019 | UM News
Since 2002, the Wesley Savings and Multipurpose Cooperative has transformed lives and livelihoods in the Philippines.
Established by the United Methodist Church of San Isidro in the Isabela Province, the cooperative has grown from 30 to 1,500 regular members. An additional 500 younger members form a group of children and youth savers. Beginning with the equivalent of $235 U.S. in seed money, the cooperative today has more than $1.1 million U.S. in total assets.
The cooperative’s purpose is “to alleviate poverty and enhance the dignity and quality of life of people,” said the Rev. Ferdinand J. Valdez, top executive of the cooperative.
One individual who has benefited is Margarita Mindaros. A street food vendor in Isabela Province for 11 years, Mindaros bicycled around to sell fish balls. Today, as a co-op member, she can send her children to school. Wesley also provided capital for her small business.
Wesley Savings has shown that it is possible for a credit cooperative to prosper without charging excessive interest rates. The cooperative strives to improve socioeconomic well-being; increase income and employment by maximizing the use of available resources; encourage thrift, savings and sound use of credit; and participate in environmental management and protection.
“The cooperative is providing loans to members for productive, providential, church and other ministry related loans, salary loans, emergency loans and others.” said Valdez.