For more than two decades, the Diocese of Iligan has been actively addressing the malnutrition problem in its area of jurisdiction. However, a deeper realization has evolved from years of experience; that to be able to effectively combat this problem, poverty, the root cause of malnutrition, should relevantly respond to another approach or a methodology must be adopted. Thus, credit scheme came into being. The loaning project further grew with the support from Food Transition Strategy (FTS) of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) through the implementation of the Small Enterprise Development Program. This aimed to be established at the Diocesan level, a credit program which has potential of sustainability and impact, at the same time, support viable and sustainable income generating projects at the barangay level which served as continuing source of income for the supported families. The Small Enterprise Development Program (SEDP) continued providing loan assistance to individual micro-entrepreneur. Two years later, problems cropped up one after another as repayment rate dropped significantly and more clients were incurring arrears and bad debts. Nevertheless, the program was determined to move ahead.
It was during this time that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was vent on the instruction of the Grameen Banking technology for all its partners. Given all the opportunities and commitment/enthusiasm of all the staff, Grameen Bank replication was fully implemented on June 1997. As the program geared towards growth in terms of outreach and quality, it also transformed from being church-based to Non-Government Organization (NGO). On the 19th of October 1998, SERVIAMUS FOUNDATION INC. (SFI) legally entered into mainstream of development institutions.
As SFI continued to provide loan assistance, they also provided financial assistance in times of loss (death of member and dependents) thru Mutual Aid Fund (MAF). The members pay a weekly contribution of five pesos and receive maximum of Five Thousand Pesos (PhP5,000) as financial assistance. In 2007, the management and Board decided that MAF must be enhanced by providing bigger benefits and bigger premium to its members. The Enhanced Mutual Aid Fund (EMAF) program gives a beneficial impact to the members as well as to the community, yet the risk became higher because the premium and benefits did not undergo actuarial study. Last 2013, the SFI Board of Trustees and management decided to create a Mutual Benefit Association. It was registered in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last May 24, 2013 and got a license from the Insurance Commission last January 27, 2014 with the License No. 2013-32-O.
At this time, SFI and Serviamus MBA, Inc. is committed to its mission and its true concern for the poor family. The program continues to grow and continuing serving the poor people through micro-financing and micro-insurance program.