In July 1972, a group of 33 workers from the Sofasa assembly plant in Envigado transformed their natillera or Christmas savings fund into a small and promising savings and credit cooperative.
The first $15,000 (about $12.2 million today) that were collected in installments of $1,000 and $1,500 from each of the founding members formed the initial capital of Cootrasofasa, which had the approval of the then National Superintendence of Cooperatives.
The protagonist of the evolution of this entity, today consolidated as a financial cooperative with assets of more than $1.32 billion, is Oswaldo León Gómez, who holds the position of leader of the Confiar solidarity platform, with functions that, according to him, are very clear: “to be the guardian of the little things and of the minor box of illusion” (see Background).
In this platform that generates 735 jobs with a presence through 60 agencies in Antioquia, Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Risaralda, Casanare and Meta, in addition to the financial cooperative, a foundation and the promoter of Solid housing are part.
The rhythm of 2022
Coinciding with the celebration of half a century of work, the entity presented the results of the first semester of this year, highlighting the growth of the social contributions of its associates, which totaled $214,300 million, while savings totaled $890,000 million.
“We have a portfolio of COP 1.12 trillion with a very important dedication to mortgage loans and to builders of more than COP 400,000 million. This is the leading portfolio in Confiar, as it is above the consumer portfolio. And in a situation of increases in the interest rate of the Banco de la República, we were able to account for surpluses of $7.2 billion,” said Gómez.
The figures are significant, since it is expected that they will allow the difficulties of the second half of the year to be endured, given that deposit interest rates will be on the rise, but interest rates on loans will not be raised in the same way.
“The clouds will be derived from an inflation that is skyrocketing, almost double digits, which has led to the application of the economic prescription with an increase in the Issuer’s interest rates. We had an average deposit rate (DTF) at the beginning of the year of 3%, today it is 8.49%, that is to say that the costs of deposits have tripled and that implies a greater effort by the cooperative to comply with associates and savers,” he explained.
Tonight at the Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden in Medellín, the central act of celebration will be held with some 1,500 guests, including Rosendo Arturo Saavedra and Carlos Toro, the only living founders of the cooperative.
Tomorrow with the Bazar de la Confianza, also in the Botanical Garden, the celebration will continue, which expects the arrival of some 20,000 people to enjoy various cultural activities, meals, exhibition of crafts and games.
“What follows for the next 50 and more years is to continue multiplying trust in the territories, to continue making Confiar’s superior purpose a reality, which is to cooperate for well-being,” emphasized Gómez, who for 40 years has been in charge of the cooperative that is committed to people “saving patiently and spending parsimony”.