23 March

Philippines: Coops Show Resiliecy and Responsiveness Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Date : Monday March 23, 2020
  • Venue :

On March 23, ACCU convened an online conference call with the CEOs of member organizations to share the current situation of COVID 19 pandemic and the response or impact to credit unions. The meeting was attended by CEOs or representatives from Shinkumi Banks Association of Japan (SBAJ), Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of Malaysia (ACCUM), National Cooperative Bank Ltd (NCBL), Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO) and National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO). Meanwhile, due to prior commitments, other CEOs sent a written update.


CEOs shared…

SBAJ: SBAJ Advisor Mr. Mototoshi Ogawa, informed that the COVID-19 situation is now stable. The quarantine procedure was very effective. Japan government is evaluating the situation on how the global economy is affected.  Credit unions do not face liquidity problem due to high demand of withdrawals.


ACCUM: Executive Secretary Mr. Annamalai Muniandy reported that Malaysia situation is improving as 87 patients recovered and only 11 deaths. From March 18 – 31, the government has announced movement control order (MCO) prohibiting the movement and mass assembly nationwide and closure of all government and private premises except those involved in essential services.  However, credit unions and banks are still operating. ACCUM Executive Secretary believed liquidity in credit unions would not be a problem.


PFCCO: CEO Ms. Emma dela Cerna shared that the Philippine government has declared city lockdown. Cooperatives are still operating with skeletal staff and shortened office hours from 8 AM to 12 noon. Cooperatives had to postpone their AGMs as mass gathering is not allowed. The members who are daily wage earners are directly affected. The government is providing food package to needy members of the communities.


NATCCO: CEO Ms. Sylvia O. Paraguya highlighted that some coops which do not have branches will face difficulties to provide services to their members in different towns due to the lockdown. 


NCBL and NEFSCUN (Nepal): CEO Mr. Badri Kumar Guragain reported that Nepal is still considered as clean zone with only one person tested positive for Covid-19 and already recovered. However, due to the open border to India, he anticipated that Nepal may face the COVID-19 problem by late of March. Nepal government has announced the lockdown for all non-essential service businesses since March 19.


Currently, absence of online services in the cooperatives is a major issue. Due to high demand of withdrawals, the Central Bank released 1 Billion Rupees to credit unions/cooperatives with liquidity issue and no online services.


The Credit Union Movement in Nepal has contributed 10,000 USD to the government treasury to support the coronavirus response efforts. Also, NCBL and NEFSCUN have jointly developed a lending product for credit unions who have liquidity problem during COVID-19. NCBL is ready to provide some support such as basic equipment or household items to credit unions that use their building as self-quarantine facility.


NCBL’s CEO affirmed that there is no report of COVID-19 case on CU BOD and staffs.  The major concerns are the liquidity issue and the lack of online services in CUs though NCBL ensured to help them during this crisis.


Meanwhile, NEFSCUN’s CEO plans to meet with his management team to discuss specific response to COVID 19 impacts to credit unions.


CULHK: Manager Mr. Lee Yuen Cheong informed all credit union activities from February to April were cancelled. Some credit unions temporarily stopped their operations. Still many Hong Kong citizens including credit union members are sourcing mask everyday due to stringent supply in the market.


CULROC: CEO Mr. Yang-Yu Wang shared that credit union activities in February were cancelled to avoid crowd infections. CULROC’s annual general meeting in March was postponed.   Credit unions are operating but taking precautions such as making disinfection alcohol available for staff and members.  


CUCO: General Manager Mr. B. Puspo Cahyo Nugroho that credit unions are operating applying protocols to control the spread of the virus. The operating time is though shortened from 8 am to 5:00 pm to 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. CUCO annual general meeting scheduled in June will depend on the development of COVID contagion. The major concern of credit unions is the falling value of the Indonesian Rupees affecting inflation in the country.


FESALOS: CEO Mr. Paulus Laveil informed that Papua New Guinea government has announced a State of Emergency (SOE) which prohibits public gathering and total ban on in-bound international flights. Credit Union offices are either closed or operate half-day. FESALOS will review the regulations of the SOE and evaluate how it will affect the movement. Most people are currently rushing to the shops now to buy supplies.


ACCU – Thailand:  ACCU postponed all international travels and regional programs. The 27th DE Workshop in June has been announced. ACCU is closely monitoring the situation. The program will be pushed through as planned if the situation gets normal. In the same way, ACCU will announce the September 2020 Forum in Nepal but with close attention to the situation of the COVID 19.


The Thai government has announced the closure of public areas but has not totally locked down.   ACCU staff who use public transportation are at risk. ACCU team decided to request all staff to work from home starting from March 24 until further notice. 

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