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1 CREDIT MANAGEMENT AND FINANCIAL PEFORMANCE OF CREDIT COOPERATIVES IN SOCCSKARGEN REGION Chapter I THE PROBLEM Introduction A cooperative is a duly registered association of persons, with common bond of interest, who have voluntarily joined together to achieve a lawful common social or economic end. Each member is to make equitable contributions of capital required and accept a fair share of the risks and benefits of the undertaking in accordance with universally accepted cooperative principles (RA 9520). Cooperatives are powerful tools for people-centered economic empowerment and social transformation. Their primary motive is service to the community and not for profit. It is an enterprise that arises out of problems existing in a community, and the determination of the community to solve those problems together (woccu.org, 2013). In general, development in the real sense means people having the power to use human and natural resources to the integral well-being of their particular society and of humanity. This is only possible through empowerment and collective organization of people, capitalizing on the people’s power, the power that comes from unity, cooperation, organization and action (Paramundayil, 2012). This is where cooperatives come into action. 2 A cooperative may be organized and registered in accordance to its service activities and purposes. It can be on the service of encouraging thrift and savings mobilization among the members, generating funds to the members for productive and provident purposes, developing expertise and skills among its members, providing goods and services to the members, and engaging into credit and saving business (Republic Act 9520). According to Savings and Credit Cooperative League of South Africa, a credit cooperative is into credit and savings business. It is being governed and managed by its members, who agree to save their money together in the credit cooperative. The money, in turn, is provided as loans to each member at reasonable rates of interest. Interest is charged on loans, to cover the interest cost on savings and the cost of administration. Moreover, there is no payment or profit to outside interest or internal owners. The members are the owners and the members decide how their money will be used for the benefit of each other (saccol.org.za, 2010). Credit Cooperatives in the Philippines are governed by the Republic Act No. 6939, “an act creating the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to promote the viability and growth of cooperative as instruments of equity, social justice, and economic development, defining its powers, functions and responsibilities, rationalizing government policies and agencies with cooperative function, supporting cooperative development, transferring the registration and regulation functions of existing government agencies on cooperatives as such consolidating the same with the authority, appropriating funds therefore and for other purposes” (Institute of Cooperatives and Bio-Enterprise Development (ICOPED), 2012). 3 Aside from being viewed as entities operating business activities based on mutual aid, and on accepted cooperative principles and practices, these cooperatives are expected to help improve socio-economic status of their respective members (Ibid). In Soccskargen region, credit cooperatives play an important role and considered as visible players that contribute to its fast growing economy. However, as new entrants are coming, old players are diminishing. This situation disrupts public confidence in viewing the cooperative operations. This situation can be attributed to a lot of factors. One of the factors is the cooperative’s credit management practices. These credit management practices are potent mechanisms that can either make or break the cooperative (Mellor, 2009). There is only a dearth of literature available which studied about the above practices, specifically within the context of Soccskargen region. Hence, the researcher will take the opportunity to conduct this study to determine how these credit management practices of existing credit cooperatives in the region can affect their business performances, particularly the financial performance. Statement of the Problem The study aimed to look into the existing Credit Management Practices and their effects to Business Performances, particularly financial performances of Credit Cooperatives in SOCCSKARGEN REGION. Specifically, the study sought to answer the following questions: 1. What is the profile of Credit Cooperatives in SOCCSKARGEN REGION in terms of: 4 1.1. Location; 1.2. Loans Receivables; 1.3. Net Surplus; 1.4. Total Assets; and 1.5. Asset Category? 2. What is the level of implementation of the existing Credit Management Practices of Credit Cooperatives in Soccskargen Region in terms of: 3.1. Credit Appraisal 3.2. Credit Risk Control 3.3. Collection Policy? 3. Is there a significant relationship between the level of implementation of credit management practices and financial performance of credit cooperatives in soccskargen region? 4. Among the existing credit management practices, which influences most the financial performance in soccskargen region? 5. Does the profile of Credit Cooperatives significantly moderate the influence of credit appraisal, credit risk control, and collection policy on the financial performance of credit cooperatives in soccskargen region? Significance of the Study The results of the study will benefit the following stakeholders of the Credit Cooperatives in Soccskargen region. Cooperative Members. Basically, the results of this study will give members the 5 idea and understanding about the present status of their cooperative in different aspects as well as the information on the direction of their cooperative in the future. Cooperative Managers and Staff. The results of this study will also give them the idea on how to strategize their cooperatives effectively and efficiently. Moreover, it will provide them the knowledge on how to handle and manage internal and external pressures of their cooperative. Other Cooperatives. The findings of this study will serve as a benchmark to other cooperatives in making their own cooperatives competitive. Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the City Government of General Santos City. The insights derived from this study may benefit them to properly intervene in the promotion of the cooperative movement in their areas of jurisdiction. Other researchers. The findings of this study could be used as reference point information by other researchers who will conduct related studies on credit cooperatives. Economy, Commerce and Industry. Cooperatives can serve as potent mechanisms to enhance business activities since they are considered as financial intermediaries, hence, the result of this study will serve as a baseline information for decision making in terms of how the government will be able to utilize more the potential cooperatives to spur sustainable progress not only in the urban centers but also in the countryside. Scope and Delimitation This study was conducted with the selected Credit Cooperatives in Soccskargen region. It is delimited to the credit management practices and their effects to the 6 financial performances of the respondent cooperatives. Financial performance was based on the 3-year Financial Statements of the cooperatives, specifically for the period 2019-2022. 7 Chapter II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK This chapter presents the review of related literature and studies relative to the credit and collection management practices and business performance of credit cooperatives. In addition, the conceptual framework is also presented. Review of Related Literature and Studies Cooperativism started in Rochdale Society in England in 1844. A group of weavers and other artisans in Rochdale, England set up the society to open their own store selling food items they could not otherwise afford. In just a matter of ten years, cooperative societies in the United Kingdom have reached over 1,000. After which, cooperative movements have spread all over the world (Birchall, 1997). In the Philippines, cooperativism has been initiated when the Rural Credit Law was put in place in 1915. Republic Act 6938, otherwise known as Cooperative Code of the Philippines was put into law to foster the creation and growth of cooperatives as a practical vehicle for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic development and social justice. This was amended by Republic Act 9520 otherwise known as the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008. Cooperatives are defined by the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on Co-operative Identity “as autonomous associations of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointlyowned and democratically-controlled enterprises” (International Cooperative Alliance’s Statement of Cooperative Identity, 1995). By forming a cooperative, money and human 8 resources are pooled to build capital, and work together to produce more goods and raise incomes. Cooperatives can serve as a mechanism to enhance members’ skills in sourcing out funding support in the form of loans with low interest rates as well as in the marketing of their products (Birchall, 2004). Cooperatives can be categorized into primary, secondary and tertiary cooperatives. Primary has a membership of natural persons of legal age while secondary has a membership of those primaries. On the other hand, tertiary has a membership of secondaries up to one or more apex organizations. Those cooperatives the members of which are cooperatives are known as federation or unions. The cooperatives may fall under different types; among the most important types are the service cooperative, the one which engages in medical-dental care, hospitalization, transportation, insurance, housing, labor, electric light and power, communication, professional and other services; and the multi-purpose cooperative, is one which combines two (2) or more of the business activities of different types of cooperative (Republic Act 9520). The operation of the cooperative is anchored on the concept of self-help to benefits members. This means that members who are co-owners and co-workers of the must work hand in hand to achieve certain cooperative objectives. With the change in the global business climate, new forces have emerged favoring the operation of cooperatives. These include globalization which opens up new markets for laborintensive products such as fruits and vegetables, rapid commercialization of small farms which create a need for more production inputs, rapid increase in commercial markets 9 which is a manifestation of increased demand for goods and service, and revolution of communication which enhanced communication and business activities (Mellor, 2009). In the Philippines, cooperative plays a very significant role in the society. “Selfhelp as economic self-defense propelled cooperative to help Juan Dela Cruz attain social justice and economic development. With total assets of P42 Billion from 74,809 cooperatives nationwide, cooperatives play increasingly crucial roles in the economy”, said Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, the one recommending amendments to the Cooperative Code of 9268. In Sibal (2011), it is stressed that the Philippines’ economic growth is in fact at par with the ASEAN growth rate. However, in terms of poverty reduction, the country is lagged behind, hence, calls for an “inclusive growth “strategy of the Aquino Administration in the Philippine Development Plan. “Inclusive growth” means active participation of the citizenry in the creation of the country’s growth and at the same time a major beneficiary from the said growth (International Labour Organization, 2010). It is focused in maximizing job creation in reducing poverty. With this, the role of the cooperative sector is a vital component to achieve this national endeavour (Sibal, 2011). In fact, according to Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga (2011), the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016 recognized the role of cooperatives in achieving “inclusive growth” where the benefits of growth are shared by all Filipinos. This is because cooperatives help in mobilizing local savings for development in the informal financial sector. “Cooperatives are highly client-responsive development-oriented organizations that nurture and promote savings at source, all for the benefit of their members and their families. We propose to strengthen cooperative development in most endeavours as a means of creating jobs and spreading wealth. And I think that there are ideas that are being spawned in the National Cooperative Movement. Among the programs 10 pushed in the Philippine Development Plan, involving cooperatives is the promotion of the use of alternative financial channels of credit and financing where innovative products and services are used in underserved and unserved areas of the country”. (Paderanga, 2011) Based on the records of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) which regulates cooperatives reports that since 1990 up to June 30, 2007, 74,809 cooperatives has been registered with them, as follows: 4,812 credit cooperatives engaged in savings and credit operations; 1,369 consumer cooperatives, mostly in public and private offices and schools; 1,409 producers cooperatives; 911 marketing cooperatives; 1,806 service cooperatives, providing power distribution, potable water and irrigation system, public and private transportation service; and, 60,000 registered multi-purpose cooperatives, which are divided into Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Cooperatives (Cooperative Development Authority, 2007). Cooperatives generate full time and part-time employment. The entire cooperative sector has generated 1.498 million jobs in 2004, 1.563 million jobs in 2005 or with an increase of about 65,215 over 2004 figures; and 1.636 million jobs as of December 31, 2006 with an increase of 73,047 jobs over 2005 (CDA, 2007). However, with the survey conducted by the credit union cooperative in Cavite last July 15, 2007. They found out that there are 74,960 registered cooperatives; only 21,146 are operating out of which 3,133 are barely two years old. On these numbers only few are considered financially strong and healthy. Most are small, weak and unsustainable. Credit cooperatives are considered as the most successful financial institutions not regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. They operate like a bank; however, they have greater flexibility in terms of its saving and lending functions. Hence, they are 11 considered as informal financial intermediaries (Relampagos, Lamberte and Graham, 1990). Furthermore, credit cooperatives are basically credit unions. They are places that people can borrow money and have checking and savings accounts. A credit union is a cooperative and a non-profit organization that are organized to promote and provide thrift and credit to its members. It is a member owned and controlled by a board of directors elected by the membership. The board serves on a volunteer basis and may hire a management team to run the credit union. The board also establishes and revises policy, sets dividend and loan rates, and directs certain operations. The result: members are provided with a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates at an institution that exists to benefit them, not to make a profit (Coopfcu.org, August 2013). Saving money is the primary goal of service of the credit cooperatives and to offer loans to its members. In fact, these cooperatives have traditionally made loans to people of ordinary means. Credit cooperatives can charge lower rates for loans (as well as pay higher dividends on savings) because they are non-profit cooperatives. Rather than paying profits to stockholders, credit cooperatives return earnings to members in the form of dividends or improved services (Ibid). Also, credit cooperatives have two overarching functions. One is to provide credit to its members with less documentary requirements than other lending institutions. By availing of the credit services of the cooperatives, members are able to participate and patronize the operation. Through this, the cooperative will be able to help the overcome poverty especially if these loans will be used for productive purposes which will generate additional income on the part of the member. Loans are granted from the members' accumulated savings. The member pays corresponding interest on the credit 12 he receives. Usually, the interest rates are lower than commercial financial institutions as part of the service the cooperative to its members. The second function of a credit cooperative is to encourage savings from its members. The member saves his/her money in accordance of the saving programs of the cooperative. By encouraging savings, the cooperative will also be able to generate more funds to finance credit programs (Galor, 2013). Further, savings and credit cooperatives served as financial intermediaries. Members can avail of the financial services they provide. In fact, millions of members of these cooperatives worldwide, including those poor and low-income people in many countries have already availed of their respective services. Hence, donors who want to extend financial programs often support savings and credit cooperatives as a way of providing access to those in need of the financial assistance (Branch, 2005). In totality, savings and credit cooperatives provide the following advantages and benefits to its members and the community as a whole: 1) Savings and credit cooperatives provide services to its members regardless of location and accessibility that usually discourage banks to operate especially in rural areas; 2) Aside from credit, these cooperatives also provide saving services to their members; 3) Savings and credit cooperatives often started as self-help organization which rely to the members’ contribution as a source of capital rather than sourcing from external support; 4) the saving component of the credit cooperative’s operation constitutes a stable, relatively low-cost funding source; and 5) Well-run savings and credit cooperatives incur low administrative, hence, they have the leeway to extend loans at interest rates that are lower than those charged by other microcredit providers (Ibid.). 13 In relation to the credit management practices, credit cooperatives have the responsibility to their members to run daily operations in a responsible manner that protects member deposits and the integrity of the institution. Best practices in operational standards include adherence to generally accepted accounting principles, transparency in accounting and operations and implementation of internal control policies and procedures that protect the institution against employee and member risk. Financial management standards are critical to the operations of credit cooperatives so that managers and directors can set a plan for the financial operations of an institution and monitor progress against that plan (woccu.org, 2013). With its collection management practices, it is assumed to be governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 1978 to eliminate abusive debt collection practices. However, credit cooperatives are not subject to or bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, because they collect on their own debts and that Act applies only to the collection of consumer debts-those incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. While this regulation applies to third party collection agencies, most of them adopt similar provisions to prevent unfair and deceptive practices (saccol.org.za, August 2010). Moreover, according to Llanto (1994) in his Financial Structure and Performance of Philippine Credit Cooperatives research, the Philippine credit cooperatives have grown in terms of financial resources and membership for more than three (3) decades by helping thousands of members build up their savings and access low cost credit for diverse needs. The research found out that capital adequacy and protection, asset quality, rate of return and costs, liquidity and solvency are based on several criteria. It 14 can be generally concluded that credit cooperatives were able to mobilize huge financial resources and to provide credit and savings services to a large mass base at a standard comparable to that of formal financial institutions. They are viable financial intermediaries in the countryside whose development must be strongly supported. The credit cooperatives can grow into strong self-reliant and self-sustaining financial institutions given the proper supervisory and regulatory environment, efficient management policies and practices. They have the potential to provide self-sustaining financial services to small borrowers especially if capital is adequate and the members' share capital and deposits are sufficiently protected (Ibid). Lastly, although considered as most successful informal financial intermediaries, credit cooperatives are still being confronted by a lot of challenges which lead to the eventual failures of their operations. Cayetano observed that the lack of effective legal framework and supervisory oversight among coops has led to the fragmentation of development efforts and a poor database on the actual performance and contribution of the cooperative sector. This was further confirmed by Cooperatives Philippines (2011): “those who prepared the PDP had no data, had no access to data on the entities who comprise some 18 percent of the total assets of the financial system and 17 percent of the economic output in 2010”. Specifically, the following are the main reasons for cooperatives’ failures: 1) Lack of education and training; 2) Lack of capital; 3) Inadequate volume of business; 4) Lack of loyal membership support; 5) Vested interest and graft and corruption among coop leaders; mismanagement; and 7) Lack of government support. 6) Weak leadership and 15 Further, National Confederation of Cooperatives’ (NATCCO) assessment in 2007 noted that cooperatives’ failures are caused by the following: (1) poor/unprofessional leaders and managers (lack of proper education); (2) overexposure to loans; (3) poor systems and procedures; (4) organizing for wrong reasons; (5) no development plans; and (6) mismanaged projects. NATCCO added that cooperatives are here to stay, but they have to grow as a sector (inter-dependence) and their distinct contribution to society has to be felt. The second generation leaders and managers will play a key role in meeting the challenges that include: (1) competence and business skills; (2) solid social commitment (value-driven); and (3) strategic thinking. Along this line, the PDP proposes for the strengthening of the regulatory functions by the CDA, particularly in setting the parameters of regulations for transparent participation and decision making in governance and operation of cooperatives. Conceptual Framework Figure 1 (page 16) shows the conceptual framework of the study, wherein it gives the overall set of concepts and provides key constructs that outline what should be included in the study. It is a tool researcher’s used to guide their inquiry; a sort of map that may include the research question, the literature review, methods and guide their data collection analysis. The researcher has identified the different existing Credit and Collection Management Practices of Credit Cooperatives in General Santos City. After which, the researcher used their corresponding Financial Statements in describing the financial operation and condition of the cooperatives. A financial analysis was conducted to measure the financial performance of 16 Credit Cooperatives in General Santos City in terms of profitability, liquidity, and solvency. Whatever the results are given recommendations to properly assess and enhance the cooperatives’ business operations. Credit and Collection Management Practices of Credit Cooperatives in General Santos City Manner of Implementation FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE Profitability Liquidity Solvency Figure 1. Conceptual Framework Definition of Terms For better understanding of the study, the following terms are defined conceptually and operationally. Business Operation. Conceptually, it is an activities involved in the day to day functions of the business conducted for the purpose of generating profits (Finlay, 2009). Operationally, it is a set of activities conducted by Credit Cooperatives to gain revenue and profitability. It includes deposits and lending. Credit refers to the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future (Finlay, 2009). In this study, it refers to the ability of members to acquire loans from the cooperatives. 17 Collection is the the action or process of collecting someone or something (Raikes, 1996). In this study, it refers to the manner of collecting loans from the cooperative members. Collection Management. Conceptually, this refers to the activity performed that includes setting and coordinating selection policies; assessing user needs and studying use; selection, evaluation, and weeding; planning for resource sharing (Johnson, 2009). Operationally, an activity conducted by credit cooperatives on how they manage their collections coming from loans and deposits. Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). Conceptually, it is a government agency that is in charge of the registration and regulation of the cooperatives in the region (Republic Act 6938). Operationally, an agency that is used by the researchers to gather data of different cooperatives needed for the completion of the research. Credit Cooperatives. Conceptually, this refers to a cooperative that lends money, collected from its members, at low rates of interest (Davidmann, 1996). Operationally, these are the credit cooperatives operating in General Santos City. Credit Management. Conceptually, this is the process of controlling and collecting payments from customers. This is the function within a bank or company to control credit policies that will improve revenues and reduce financial risks (Pamarasivan and Subramanian, 2013). Operationally, refers to a function performed of the cooperative to improve and control credit policies that will lead to increased revenues and lower risk including increasing collections, reducing credit costs, extending more credit to creditworthy customers, and developing competitive credit terms. 18 Liquidity. Conceptually, it is the capacity of a business to immediately convert their assets into cash (Pamarasivan and Subramanian, 2013). Operationally, it is the state of being liquid by credit cooperatives and on how frequent their loans will be granted to their borrowers. Profitability. Conceptually, it is the state or condition of yielding a financial profit or gain. It is often measured by price to earnings ratio (Pamarasivan and Subramanian, 2013). Operationally, refers the state of being profitable of credit cooperatives. It is the benefit that the cooperatives could get by their operations. Solvency. Conceptually, in business or finance, it is the degree to which the existing assets of an individual or entity exceed the current liabilities of that person or entity. It can also be described as the capability of a corporation to meet its long-term fixed expenses and to achieve long-term expansion and growth (Pamarasivan and Subramanian, 2013). Operationally, it is the capacity of Credit Cooperatives to meet their long-term financial obligations. 19 Chapter III METHODOLOGY This chapter discusses about research design, subject and locale of the study, respondents and informants, research instruments, data gathering procedure, and analysis of data. Research Design The study used both descriptive-quantitative and qualitative research design. This research methodology is appropriate in describing the internal assessment of different credit cooperatives. The quantitative method was used in assessing the financial performance of the cooperatives by conducting financial analysis using the various standard financial ratios. This is to determine the profitability, liquidity and solvency of the said cooperatives. To look into the credit and collection management practices of the credit cooperatives, the researcher conducted a systematic examination and review of the pertinent documents available from the respondents. Key Informants Interviews (KIIs) were done to deepen understanding and examination and to gather additional qualitative information and insights regarding the study. Locale of the Study Basically, this study was conducted to twelve Credit Cooperatives in General Santos City namely: MMC Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, General Santos Coca-Cola Development Cooperative, RD Employees Muti-Purpose Cooperatives, MSU General Santos City Multi-Purpose Cooperative, City Food Terminal Multi-Purpose 20 Cooperative, Amsua Multi-Purpose Cooperatives, Metro Gensan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, General Santos Fish Port Complex Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Socsargen Country Hospital Employees Cooperative, South Star Development Cooperative, DENR Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and General Santos City Meat Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative. These cooperatives were categorized based on their scale of operation such as those which operate on a: small scale, medium scale and large scale. This is primarily based on their total assets. Respondents and Informants The respondents and informants of the study are the key persons of the selected cooperatives. They possess wide array of information and knowledge about the cooperative. They were the following: Manager of Mindanao Medical Center (MMC) Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative Manager of General Santos Coca-Cola Development Cooperative Accounting Staff of SOCOTECO II Employees Cooperative Chairman of the Credit Committee of MSU-General Santos City Multi-Purpose Cooperative General Manager of City Food Terminal Multi-Purpose Cooperative Accounting Staff of Amsua Multi-Purpose Cooperatives Bookkeeper of Metro Gensan Multi-Purpose Cooperative Chairman of the Board of General Santos Fish Port Complex Employees MultiPurpose Cooperative Staff of Socsargen Country Hospital Employees Cooperative 21 Manager of South Star Development Cooperative Staff/Collector of DENR Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative Store In-charge of General Santos City Meat Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative. Research Instruments The researcher utilized two (2) research instruments in gathering data and information from the key informants and respondents. The Key Informant Interview (KII) Guide was used to elicit qualitative information from the informants and respondents. In addition, document checklist was used to determine the secondary data that will be considered as vital instruments to be used in the study. Financial ratio analysis was conducted using the standard financial ratios used in determining the profitability, liquidity and solvency of the respondent cooperatives. In particular, Return on Investment, Return to Asset, Return to Equity and Benefit-Cost Ratio were used to measure profitability while Current Ratio was used to compute for liquidity. Networth, Debt-to-Asset Ratio and Debt-to-Networth Ratio were be used to measure solvency. Data Gathering Procedure In gathering data, the following procedures were undertaken: The researcher has visited the identified Credit Cooperatives in General Santos City to get permission to conduct the study along with the letter of request. Upon approval, the researcher has started to collect the necessary data and information that will be used in the study. KII sessions were conducted with the identified respondents to 22 ensure the accuracy and validity of the information needed. It was noted and emphasized to the respondents that the data and information that gathered will be used for classroom purposes only and will be treated with utmost confidentiality. The secondary data were gathered through checklisting, library research, internet research, magazine readings, annual reports from selected cooperative offices and published and unpublished related materials. Financial records of these credit cooperatives for the past three (3) years from 2010-2012 were taken from their records and from the records of the Cooperative Development Authority Field Office in General Santos City. Data Analysis The researcher used two (2) types of analysis in interpreting the data gathered. For primary data, descriptive analysis was used in documenting and describing the operation of these cooperative specifically their various credit and collection management practices. Comparative analysis was used in examining the financial records of the cooperatives for the past three (3) years using the standard financial ratios. Secondary data were collated and tallied for proper presentation. Lastly, the three (3) years comparative analysis was done to confirm and determine the effect of these data to the financial performance of credit cooperatives in terms of profitability, liquidity, and solvency.