A deposit-taking financial institution Ukulima Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) has spread its wings to the Western Kenya region and opened a branch in Kakamega town.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SACCO, Richard Nyanga, said that the move to open the branch has been necessitated by the need to bring banking services and products closer to the members.
“The SACCO began with 1,000 members and today we have been able to serve over 47,000 members countrywide for the last fifty years since the Sacco was formed,” he noted.
The National Chairman Dr Philip Cherono, said that the opening of the SACCO’s 8th branch that was launched forms part of the decentralization process being implemented by the society which aims at bringing services closer to the members.
“The society has made this strategic move to enhance effectiveness and create more impact to the communities in which we operate,” he said. “In our quest to diversify SACCO portfolio, we look forward to partnering with various sectors that are driving the economy of the western region,” he added.
Cherono added that they want to work with small and medium enterprises such as ‘mama mboga’ as their customer so they can be able to give them loans without any collateral.
The chairman added that the integral role of society is to offer financial consultancy, positive customer service experience and transform the customer.
He said the Sacco has other branches in Nairobi, Kisumu, Embu, Eldoret, Kisii, Nakuru and Mombasa.
The Principal Secretary, State Department for Co-operatives, Mr Ali Noor Ismail, said that the Ukulima Sacco is the 10th largest Sacco in the country among the deposit-taking SACCOs.
“SACCOs and Cooperatives have impacted lives and livelihoods in this country since independence and Kenya is considered number one in cooperatives in Africa and number seven globally,” he noted.
Noor decried leadership and governance issues in a number of SACCOs and emphasized that the only way to deal with this problem is to increase the regulatory outreaches and through SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA), they are able to solve their problems.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who was the chief guest, hailed Ukulima SACCO for its aim to offer members a variety of financial products and services for purposes of members’ investment, development and national growth.
He commended Ukulima SACCO for choosing Kakamega as their investment destination as it will enhance the economic growth of the town.
“I am aware that Sacco’s asset base has grown to Sh13.7 billion, deposit rate reached to Sh9.7 billion and loan uptake of up to Sh11 billion,” he said.
The Governor said that cooperative societies have a big role to play in the realization of the big four agendas as well as the vision 2030 strategy.
He urged the county staff to join the Sacco and take advantage of the short and long-term loans given by the Sacco for investment or any other financial needs.
He asked the management of the SACCO to conduct outreach programs to reach out to residents and encourage them to join the financial organization.
The Deputy Governor Prof Philip Kutima concurred with the Governor, adding that the SACCO will enable the farmers to grow as they will benefit a lot from the loans.
By Margaret Andeso and Valentine Muganda