I remember quite well how Sacco’s used to be a big back in the day, especially for those of us who grew up in the countryside. As kids, it was no secret that the highlight of the coveted Chama’s came in the leftover tea and mandazi famously served at their seemingly essential meetings. Sacco meetings were typically held on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. Besides the food, most of us didn’t quite see the importance of Saccos.
But as time went by, we matured and became adults. And the first thing about maturing into adulthood is the realization that adult life isn’t all glitz and glamour. Hard times have a knack of visiting when we least expect. That’s when we came to understand why cooperative funding was such a big deal.
Unlike most banks, getting a soft loan from your Chama is quite easy. All you need to do is draft a proposal and wait for a couple of business days before getting the necessary approval. So, before we discuss the most recent impact technology has had on Sacco’s, it’s wise to start by highlighting a handful of the benefits one can enjoy by merely joining a Sacco’s:
The Benefits of Joining a Sacco
There are a handful of reasons why most middle-class, as well as low-income class adults, are members of Saccos. Some of these reasons may include the following:
- a) High returns on deposits.
- b) Partner discounts are ever scintillating.
- d) Building a cash reserve is easy.
- e) A collective of like-minded individuals.
The latter is the reason why you’re always advised to take your time and research before joining a Sacco. Doing this is so important because you’ll have a much easier time growing since you’ll always be surrounded by knowledgeable individuals who want to see you win.
That said, let’s now take a look at the impact the ever-advancing technology has had on the evolution of Saccos:
How technology has impacted Saccos
A wise man once said that change is the only constant thing. And the ever-advancing technology seems to be proving this over and over again. Thanks to the countless technological advancements witnessed over the past decade, most Saccos have found safer, most convenient ways to serve their members.
Today, most of the members of Saccos don’t even have to meet as regularly as they once did. As this comes with a plethora of advantages, including cutting down on the costs. These costs may come about as a result of commuting as well as hosting; sometimes both. Below are a few ways technology has made an impact on the Saccos in Kenya:
- a) WhatsApp Group Meetings
Well, it is safe to assume that everyone and their grandmother has a smartphone. And with a smartphone at hand, members of most Saccos have WhatsApp groups, which can be used to conduct most, if not all, of their communications. The best thing about having a WhatsApp group is that the members will not be limited by the proverbial business hours since communication can take place at any given time.
- b) Availability of Mobile Lending
Long gone are the days when Sacco members had to struggle with banks and their tedious queues before they could either deposit or withdraw cash. Nowadays, Sacco members can carry out transactions through their mobile phones, thanks to the onset of online banking. One of the most ways of either making deposits or lending money is through their Mpesa accounts.
- c) Automated Tracking
Thanks to technology, Saccos can now have full access and keep track of their online transactions. Transparency of account details to members and instant notifications of any transactions has improved trust. Thus, members having a sense of security and an urge to invest even more.
A Final Word
In the end, it’s safe to conclude that as long as there are technological advancements, everything else around us is bound to experience constant change, Saccos included. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure we’re making an effort to embrace the move, which can only be to our benefit.
Despite the plethora of benefits that constant change in technology has had on the cooperative scene, it’s also essential to pay attention to the adverse effects technology has had on Saccos.
Hence, it is clear that Saccos and other financial sector players that do not innovate risk sliding back or closing shop. The level of innovation and disruption will see major players expand on the digital space and reduce physical-traditional lending channels.
“The financial sector is undergoing major disruption as a result of #Fintech‘s Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Banks, Saccos and other financial sector players that do not innovate risk sliding back or closing shop. The level of innovation and disruption will see major players expand on the digital space and reduce on physical-traditional lending channels.” wrote the Chairman of Ketepa Sacco Mr.Bernard Rono