Brief History of the FIRST COMMUNITY COOPERATIVE
(Formerly the Ateneo Credit Union)
It’s not the Building …
It’s the Builders …
Through 60 years …
The name has been changed from what originally was the “Ateneo Credit Union” to what is now the “First Community Cooperative.” It is a fitting name for two main reasons:
(1) The “Ateneo Credit Union” was the First credit union organized in the Province of Misamis Oriental or even in the entire Mindanao; (2) from a school credit union confined within the Ateneo campus, it has grown to a Community Cooperative open to and serving a membership of various people in Cagayan de Oro City.
Encouraged and inspired by Rev. Fr. William F. Masterson, S.J., the Ateneo Credit Union was organized by 15 pioneers. The incorporators, mostly faculty and other personnel of the then Ateneo de Cagayan, now Xavier University started with total deposits of P 26.30.
The First Community Credit Cooperative, Inc. has a membership numbering more than 2,000 scattered all over the city including teachers, market, vendors, businessmen, drivers, farmers, bank employees, soldiers, executives, various laborers and professionals. Its assets totaled approximately P 3 million pesos at the end of 1980. This achievements has been recognized by the government (MLGCD) by awarding it “The Most Outstanding Community Credit Cooperative in Region 10” for 1977 and 1978.
Twenty-six years have been a long and rough road since the pioneers/organizers fixed their vision towards the horizon which inspired them to organizer the credit union – a Christian concern for one another through self-help and mutual-help in a credit union way. All through the 26 years this concern for one another has been growing and expressed by the owner-members in terms of money saved, of money borrowed and money paid back.
Most Important, however, are the efforts of its members, through the years, their willingness to risk their hard-earned money by sheer faith and trust in one another and their leaders, to serve and be served through hard work and sacrifice, and through participation in decision-making which enabled them to build a strong democratically-based business organization with a social dimension. Its motto – “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, but for Service”.
Several significant events could be traced from the records and recollections of some pioneers. We would like to highlight those events as a tribute, especially to the BUILDERS of the First Community Cooperative, Inc. (formerly the Ateneo Credit Union).
JULY 8, 1954
– The Ateneo Credit Union was organized through the Inspiration of Rev. F. Masterson, S.J.
– Its first President, Mr. Oliverio Suazo.
– Its first treasurer/manager who carried on the job for the several years – Atty. Mordino Cua.
– The Misamis Oriental – Bukidnon Chapter of Credit Unions was organized with Rev. Fr. John Montenegro, S.J. playing a key role. The Ateneo Credit Union was the founding member.
– The Ateneo Credit Union was given an award by the Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon Chapter of Credit Unions for having the highest per capital deposit of members among all the other credit unions.
– The average total deposits saved monthly by the members was about P 1,000.00.
– The maximum amount of loan which members could obtain was P 3,000.00.
– During those early years, the Ateneo Credit Union shared the following significant contributions to the Cooperative Movement:
1. The ACU was a model for other credit unions in Northern Mindanao.
2. The ACU provided the needed leadership especially in the promotion, education, and organization of Credit unions in Mindanao.
3. Several leaders of ACU has become national leaders in the Philippine Credit Union League (PHILCUL)
4. The ACU has been instrumental in making Cagayan de Oro a Center of the Cooperative Movement in Mindanao.
– A resolution was approved to establish the “FELIPE MABALOS AWARD”, the highest award bestowed to outstanding ACU members. This award was in honor of the most exemplary member of ACU in the person of Felipe “Impe” Mabalos, who has lived a genuine spirit of concern for others, and extraordinary faith in the credit union and in the inherent goodness of his fellow members. At one time when the ACU was dire need of funds, he withdrew all his savings from a bank and put them in the credit union and without hesitation signed as guarantor to fellow members who borrowed from ACU.
– The first proposal to plan for the construction of a credit union building to be done within 3 years was conceived.
– This year marked the beginning of a full-time service, 8-hour office work, that the ACU has given to its members.
-The members approved a resolution to open ACU’s field of membership to the Cagayan de Oro Community.
– ACU decentralized its structure somewhat , making the credit union more in touch with its varied membership, by creating chapters in several barrios, districts, and other homogeneous groups within its membership.
– A full-time professional manager was employed
– A resolution was approved by the members in the annual general assembly to look into the feasibility of acquiring a lot and eventually to put-up a building on it.
– The members voted for the new name changing ACU to “First Community Credit Cooperative, Inc. (FICCCO), Inc.)
– The FICCCO members, in a general assembly approved the restructuring of its by-laws to conform to the regulations decreed by the Bureau of Cooperatives.
-FICCCO office transferred from XU gym to Abejuela Building, at Yacapin-Tiano Bros. Sts.
– FICCCO re-applied for membership to PHILCUL the National organization of credit unions.
– FICCCO’s total assets reached P 1M peso mark.
– Planned for buying a lot and construction of FICCCO building.
– A piece of lot, the future site of the FICCCO building, was bought.
– FICCCO, Inc. surpassed the one-million-peso mark in total assets amounting to P 1,162,479.88.
– FICCCO, Inc. was awarded the “MOST OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY COOPERATIVE for 1977” in Region X by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
– The members’ total average deposits saved monthly was P 37,497.42.
– FICCCO, Inc. for the second time in a row, was awarded the “MOST OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY COOPERATIVE for 1978” in Region X by th MLGCD.
– The construction of FICCCO 3-storey building started in July.
– FICCCO’s total assets appr5oaching the P 2 million peso mark.
– Its loan ceiling has been pegged at P 30,000.00.
– Misamis Oriental Union of Cooperatives was Organized of which FICCCO is a founding member.
– FICCCO, Inc. commemorates and celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
– FICCCO reached P 3M mark assets.
– FICCCO Building completed and was blessed.
– FICCCO Board approves making a manual of policies for perusal of members and non-members.
– Education Committee launched pre-membership seminar every last Saturday of the month.
– Its loan ceiling has been increased from P 30,000.00 to P 40,000.00.
– FICCCO launched its “Reaching Out Project”which sought to extend the coop’s services to the farmers.
– The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recognized FICCCO’s invaluable cooperation, assistance, commitment and concern. for the EDUCATION AND ORGANIZATION OF RURAL WORKERS.
– FICCCO received from the Philippines Business for Social Progress an “AWARD OF DISTINCTION” for exemplerary performance in promoting social development.
– Carmen Branch was opened.
– FICCCO was again renamed as FICCO, or First Community Cooperative, and became a multi-purpose coop.
– Lapasan Branch was opened. In the same year, the CDA regional and national offices recognized FICCO’s invaluable contribution to coop development in general and the upliftment of the quality of life of its members in particular.
– The CDA gave FICCO the “MOST DIVERSIFIED BUSINESS,” “TRAIL BLAZER” and “TOP GROSSER” awards.
– Puerto Branch was opened.
– Opol Branch was opened. FICCO was selected as the “MOST OUTSTANDING COOPERATIVE” in Region X by CDA.
– Villanueva Branch was opened. FICCO was again declared as the “MOST OUTSTANDING COOP” for Region X. It also received a special award for outstanding performance in savings mobilization in the national level.
– FICCO’s Carmen Branch building, costing P 7.3 million and Lapasan Branch building costing P 4.6 million was opened. Alubijid branch was opened on July 8, the 44th Anniversary of the coop, and Balingasag Branch was opened on October 26, 1998.
From every humble beginning, within the confines of University, FICCO has now extended its reach to the entire nation. It has created branches and business centers to Luzon and Visayas. This effort is based on the belief that FICCO is a variable and beneficial product which can benefit the non-bankable and/or those under the clutches of the usurers, where they are in Northern Mindanao.