Hidelesa Santiago Tabale (centre) from the Philippines is shown with staff at the Valley Credit Union. Manager Janet MacLeod is on the right. Wendy Elliott
BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Valley Credit Union staff in New Minas welcomed Hidelesa Santiago Tabale from the Philippines late in May. She shadowed branch manager Janet MacLeod for a week.
A loans officer for the Holy Child Multi-Purpose Co-operative, Tabale hails from Bato, a city in the province of Leyte.
Tabale’s credit union is celebrating its 44th year of operation and has about a thousand members. A key responsibility of hers is monitoring loans.
She says her main challenge is loan delinquency. Through her participation in the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Women’s Mentoring Program, she wanted to improve her human resource and credit management/loan collection skills, develop better planning systems and learn new strategies.
Tabale has been working in the credit union system for more than nine years. She said she was able to increase her knowledge base by working on a daily basis with staff at Valley Credit Union. “The biggest difference is advanced technology. We also do not have the cooperation for a credit bureau,” she added.
While the Bato credit union has a computerized data system, computerized operations are not the norm. Tabale said her biggest challenges are loan delinquency and effectively interviewing member-borrowers who want to take out loans, and earlier detection of members’ credit capacity to pay in order to minimize defaults.
Although she had originally pursued a university degree in pharmacology, Tabale likes working in the credit union system. She has a seven-year-old son and has been married for 16 years. This was her first trip outside the Philippines.
Conducts hands-on training
Her credit union, in partnership with agriculture staff, conducts hands-on training for the farmers, especially on new production-enhancing technologies aimed to improve yield and income. It has established techno-demonstration farms in strategic areas of the municipality and also launched a housing project where residential lots are sold at a low price. It has conceptualized various initiatives for environmental protection and sanitation.
Tabale’s credit union has garnered the Outstanding Cooperative Award for agriculture and non-agriculture undertakings. It was also accorded an Institutional Excellence Award for most outstanding socio-economic enterprise. Recently, it was recognized for its contribution on poverty alleviation and local development.
Tabale says the biggest difference between this region and her homeland is the beaches. “We have 7,107 islands and beautiful beaches,” she said.
The women’s mentoring program is in its ninth year. Participants like Tabale also had an opportunity to participate in the Canadian Co-operative Association’s 100th anniversary celebrations that took place in Ottawa June 16-19.
A national association for co-operatives in Canada, it represents more than seven million co-operative and credit union members from more than 2,000 organizations.