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Agricultural and Rural Development for Catanduanes, Inc.
The Agricultural and Rural Development for Catanduanes, Inc. (ARDCI) is a non-government organization operating a microfinance project. It received funding from the Eurpoean Union until 2002. The organization operates in the provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon. It envisions itself as a sustainable institution for the economic empowerment of the enterprising poor in Bicol and beyond.

ARDCI is a typical NGO facing the challenge of financial sustainability. In the last four years, it has posted net losses in its books. As an organization governed by members coming from the grassroots, it strives to achieve financial sustainability and at the same time diligently keep its social mission on track.

ARDCI formed partnership with SEDPI at a time when all of its partners seemingly turned their backs on them. With the partnership and in a span of eleven months, ARDCI was able to turn around its operations and posted positive income, as of November 2007, for the first time in five years.

The road to turning ARDCI around entailed a lot of sacrifices and constructive changes. Thanks to its committed top management and front liners, everyone willingly participated in bringing back the glory of ARDCI.

SEDPI revamped the entire information system, retooled the staff and re-trained the board. The flow of communications was enhanced and internal control strengthened. What used to be reports arriving three months late could now be accessed within a week with high degree of accuracy. What used to be a continuously deteriorating portfolio quality now boasts 5.25% portfolio at risk.

An organization beset with internal communication problems is now with working in a unified voice. All these were achieved with the continuous discipline of each member of the organization towards excellence and passion of service for the poor.

Philippine Credit and Finance Corporation
The Philippine Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC), one the pioneer microfinance wholesalers in the Philippines, commissioned SEDPI to develop and lead its trainings in various key cities in the country.
After sending two of its staff members to attend the Financial Analysis training at the Ateneo, PCFC saw it fit to contract SEDPI as trainers for its MFI clients.

Two trainings were delivered to PCFC’s MFI clients: 1) Strengthening Internal Controls and Management Information System, and 2) Strategic Credit and Risk Management (SCRM). As it was important for PCFC to bring the trainings near its clients, each course was conducted twice in Luzon and Mindanao, and once in the Visayas.

From July to October 2007, a total of ten trainings were conducted in the cities of Manila, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro. More than 130 participants from over 60 microfinance institutions attended the training events. The variety of organizations attending such as cooperatives, rural banks and non-government organizations, made the trainings further enriching as experiences ideas were shared.

Progressive Bank
Progressive Bank Inc. (PBI) is a rural bank operating in Panay Island. Considered as a significant player in its market, PBI enjoys a Php 116 million portfolio with 15,000 clients and although it has a near perfect performance boasting a 2% Portfolio at Risk Ratio, its management still feels there is plenty of room for improvement.

PBI commissioned the services of SEDPI for an organizational appraisal in March 2007. The result of the appraisal led PBI’s management to forge partnership with SEDPI to further improve its financial products and services with the goal of achieving both its financial and social missions. With the assistance of the BPI Capacity Building Loan, PBI was able to spread its capacity building expenditures in the next three years.

From the appraisal, the needs of the organization were identified. The capacity building needs of the staff were identified and focus was given on crafting incentives schemes, compensation system, and staff benefits. On the client level, better product designs were needed to win the already saturated market over well-established competitors. Through the training and mentoring assistance (TAMA), PBI was able to clarify its niche as the leading service provider of financial services and enterprise development support for the economic empowerment of the poor in Panay.

One of the most recent PBI-SEDPI partnerships was the Strategic Planning held in October 2007. On hand for the planning were PBI’s board members, managers and supervisors, ensuring holistic and participative discussions on vital issues. The institutional values, vision, and mission were crafted based on the understanding and direction favored by both the board and staff. Key Result Areas, performance indicators and strategies were set not only from careful market research, but also from realistic capacities of field staff and the institution.

In the end, the strategic planning resulted in PBI’s clear direction to all its stakeholders.