Last week, Presta was hosted for the MT. Kenya Digitech Forum – A platform bringing together SACCOs, Fintechs and service providers in that space, to deliberate upon other things – lessening SACCO customer headaches, which are myriad. From the age-old chess game of chasing guarantors, Lost or damaged paperwork, the ‘unexplained need’ for physical meetings? It was clear that Kenya’s Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) sector whose asset base now stands at Kes.622 Billion, has more potential than is currently being harnessed.
But the clarion call is automation and the benefits to both SACCO and customers, Data from the Sacco Subsector Demographic Study Report 2019 points out rhetoric about SACCOs and the demographic they serve.
The institution of SACCOs was founded on the provision of affordable credit to its members, the reason why the largest population is drawn from farmers, teachers – a natural selection method of association and common bond clustering.
Through the years, distribution of key socio-economic activities in the country, diminishing formal jobs and employment, topped with the recent impact of the shocks from the C-19 pandemic, we have seen this common bond clustering shift to simply “What’s in it for me?” Where you have a group of friends in a Chama, relatives or even a group seeking homeownership will seek membership in a SACCO driven by its ability to meet their needs.
A quick search on Google right now, the keyword SACCO gives you a host of popular searches. Key among them; The Best SACCO for my Savings, Best Managed SACCO and yes you guessed it Best Teacher’s SACCO in Kenya. The common membership bond today is that I can access value when I need it – Convenience.
That the industry’s defiance to slump over the years, making it one of the biggest in Africa is a testament of the financial impact of SACCOs to members and further to powering the economy. Leveraging on the rapid adoption of technology, innovation in the provision of financial services and products, coupled with the opening up of the common membership bond, it not only talks of potential but the sustainability of Kenya’s Savings and borrowing culture.
As data remains the general rubric of financial service provision, the adoption technology remains the true north, to borrow from Krish Krishnathakanthan, Senior Partner – McKinsey “Today you need a technology-led business strategy, not a business strategy supported by technology.”