Ret. Judge Esperanza Garcia was born in Leyte, grew up during the Japanese occupation and witnessed the liberation of the Philippines. Survival during the war left a very deep impression on her person and the experience inspired her to pursue a career that would allow her to serve others.
That career was law and she eventually joined the Court of First Instance (CFI) in Cebu where she rose through the ranks. In 1970, when she was still a Clerk of Court, Judge Garcia helped organize the Cebu CFI Community Cooperative (Cebu CFI). The cooperative aimed to provide affordable financing alternatives to CFI employees. With a capital of only P200, the cooperative was first opened exclusively to CFI employees. Its primary purpose was to teach its members how to save and loan responsibly.
Judge Garcia assumed the chairmanship of the cooperative upon her retirement as CFI judge in 1988. As chairman, she is committed to creating a cooperative that is responsive to the economic, social, political, ecological, and spiritual needs of the members as well as the community they operate in. Besides granting loans and earning dividends from investments, Cebu CFI has also invested in other cooperatives and banks. It provides assistance to other cooperatives in conducting job training for their officers, transfer of technology, and management and financial consultation. It also established a school complex that is open to its members and the general public. Medical assistance and academic scholarships have also been granted by the cooperative. To date, Cebu CFI’s assets total P925 million. At the end of each calendar year, members can get as much as 20% dividend on their contribution.
Cebu CFI had 29 original members when it was founded 36 years ago. Today, membership has grown to 22,000, making it the largest cooperative in the Visayas. In the next few years, Judge Garcia hopes that Cebu CFI can expand its reach by opening more branches all over the country to increase both its membership and assets.No tags for this post.