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CooPACA still sets trends for cooperativism’s future

Last year, Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito de Arecibo (CooPACA) celebrated 65 years of fulfi lling its commitment as a promoter of savings and fi nancing for its members, a trajectory that can be clearly seen, in all senses of the word, in the institution’s growth.

"The growth, especially in the past years, is due to the solid sponsorship of our members and the hard work nd dedication of our employees, all based on the vision and focus of our administration and directors," said William Méndez Pagán, executive president of CooPACA. "It is also due to the attractive products we have designed that consider the true needs of our members."

By the end of last year, CooPACA had doubled its earnings compared with 2011, from $2.1 million to $4.5 million, a record number in the local cooperatives’ history. CooPACA also reported that by the end of last year, it had 9% growth, or $47 million in total assets; capital stocks went up 8%, to $6.6 million; net members grew by 6,000, representing 7% growth; and total deposits improved 9%, to $235 million.

Another key transformation responsible for CooPACA’s growth was its refocused sales strategies to be more aggressive and proactive, such as making direct visits, sending emails and mailings, as well as conducting promotions through communications media outlets that reach the most people. Still, the fi nal goal of these efforts is based on the cooperative philosophy and CooPACA’s commitment to helping members manage their fi nancial and economic needs through orientations and education on the prudent and reasonable use of fi nancial products.

"One of CooPACA’s most important missions is promoting savings and economy among our members, which is why, when one of our members takes out a loan, they are required to have 1% to 15% of their savings in stocks, in the different types of credit or loan programs we have available in our cooperative," Méndez Pagán said. "As an entity, our north is to maintain market competitiveness and keep redesigning and developing new and better financial products for our ownermembers, who, after all, are our reason for being."

CooPACA was founded in Arecibo in November 1946 as the fi rst community credit cooperative to open in Puerto Rico under local Law 10, the fi rst to be founded and incorporated locally, and probably one of the best-known.

SOURCE: Mario Belaval Díaz (Caribbean Business) / THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013