In 1985, the Ateneo de Manila University offered low-cost housing to its employees. At that time, the employees of the Center for Communities Services (CCS), one of the social development units of the University, wanted to avail of such project. However, the CCS staff lacked the financial resources needed for initial down payment. To help raise the required amount, CCS lent its employees a portion of the down payment. Eventually, the staffs were provided with loans for other purposes, which became known as the CCS salary loan.
In April 1989, CCS saw the need to streamline its operations and promote “forced” savings among its staff. It proposed that a credit cooperative handle the said salary loan, Thus the credit cooperative was set-up and came to be known as Paglaom (a Bicol term for hope).
Paglaom did not last long. In 1991, the CCS Cooperative Development Program (CDP) proposed to dissolve Paglaom to pave the way to the formation of new cooperatives in CCS’ three areas of operations, namely, Manila, Quezon Province, and Sorsogon Province. Accordingly, this move was seen to increase nongovernment organization’ (NGOs) participation in provincial cooperative federations. This would involve the task of providing professional and technical assistance to cooperative formed among people’s organizations (PO) in Sorsogon and Quezon. As a result, three separate cooperatives were formed, namely, the Hasik-Biyaya (literally translated as shower of blessings) Cooperative in Sorsogon, the Dimailig Cooperative in Quezon, and the Kasarinlan (freedom) Development Cooperative (KDC) in Manila. Paglaon equitably distributed its assets to the new cooperatives formed.
The KDC was registered on July 10, 1991 as a multipurpose cooperative at the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), an agency of the National Government which monitors and regulates the formation of the cooperative nationwide. Its initial members were composed of NGO staff and PO secretariat.