For four decades Boresha Sacco has been helping to transform the lives of the Baringo County residents by offering loans and other financial services.

The sacco has withstood the test of turbulent financial times that has seen a number of societies split or collapse altogether, growing to become one of the biggest indigenous financial institutions in the county and its environs.

The sacco’s headquarters is at the imposing multi-million Teachers Plaza in Eldama Ravine town in Koibatek Sub county. The plaza, which is part of the society's asset base which stands at Sh7.4 billion, is a testimony to the sacco’s rock solid foundation and determination to scale great heights of success.

The sacco also owns another building at Kabarnet town.

“The two assets are worth about Sh300 million and they are some of our source of income as we have rented out office space,” says Boresha head of marketing, Philemon Chebii.

The sacco plans to put up another office block in Marigat town to serve the lower region of Baringo County.

The tier one sacco, as per saccos societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) classification, has since expanded its wings to counties of Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Nandi, Laikipia and Elgeyo-Marakwet.

But how was the sacco born?

It was registered on August 31, 1976 by a group of 10 teachers led by the late Nicholas Kangongo. The goal was to set up a sacco as part of efforts to fight poverty and improve teachers’ livelihoods.

“The 10 teachers were united and laid a sound financial stone that has transformed millions of Kenyans who are reaping from their idea,”Mr Chebii tells Enterprise.

“The founders started the sacco from a humble beginning and that is why it has a rich history that each member should know to understand the sacco’s spirit of saving regularly, borrowing wisely and repaying promptly.”

The society then known as Baringo Teachers Savings and Credit Society began operations with a capital of Sh60,000 and one staff member.

As the sacco became the preferred financial provider due to its services that rode on quality, integrity, professionalism, innovation and good customer service, the society attracted more members from the neighbouring counties.

It rebranded from Baringo Teachers Sacco Society Limited in 2012 to Boresha Sacco. This move saw the sacco cast its net wider to attract members and partners nationally and internationally who hitherto could not be served due to its initial name and geographical location.

Boresha then thrived because banks had shunned the region and most residents in rural Baringo did not own a bank account.

“The pastoralists community from far flung areas like East Pokot, Nginyang and Kapedo never had banking services closer to them and were travelling up to Nakuru or Eldoret for a simple cheque clearance,” says a member at Kabarnet Boresha offices.

Mr Chebii says the sacco won the confidence of pastoralists, teachers, matatu operators among others who entrusted the society with their money.

“Due to transparency, good governance and accountability which guaranteed the residents safety of their savings, the confidence in the sacco grew tremendously,” adds Mr Chebii.

The sacco now has a customer base of 108,196 and still counting.

Source: Business Daily: https://bit.ly/2XZPzSW

World Council’s Technology and Innovation for Financial Inclusion (TIFI) Project team provided the following report on how the credit union sector in Kenya, where CUs are called Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), is conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the confirmation of the first infection cases of COVID-19 in Kenya, safety measures have been recommended to prevent new infections and curb the spread of the virus. Stakeholders in the financial services sector took various steps during the week starting March 16, 2020 in accordance with presidential directives and a Ministry of Health advisory to limit the spread of the disease. SACCOs are keen to mitigate negative effects of the pandemic on their staff, membership and financial performance in a sub-sector where the 175 deposit taking SACCOs held KES 495 billion (USD 4.66 billion) in assets, KES 359 billion (USD 3.38 billion) in loans and had a membership of 4.97 million, as of December 2018. In this regard, the SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) and Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Ltd. (KUSCCO) have each provided a set of guidelines for their member SACCOs in mid-March.

SASRA

  • Approval of audited financial statements: SACCOs are directed to submit their financial statements to SASRA for review, approval, signing and stamping through email. This measure will minimize travel for SACCO staff for the review of their financial statements. Additionally, communication with the authority should be through emails and not physical letters or in person.
  • Annual General Meetings (AGMs): AGMs have been suspended for 30 days through a circular issued by the Commissioner for Cooperatives.
  • Business meetings: SACCOs are encouraged to minimize (physical) board meetings to strictly critical ones.
  • Payment of interest rebate: SACCOs should make payments of interest on member deposits only after audited financial statements have been approved.
  • Congestion in offices and banking halls: SACCOs are encouraged to allow staff to work from home where possible, and to encourage members to use mobile money instead of cash.
  • Risk management and plans: SACCOs are advised to take precautionary measures against situations that would constrain liquidity or lead to poor loan performance.
  • Critical outsourced services: SACCOs are advised to engage providers of critical business services such as mobile money, agency services and MIS to understand how they would ensure continuity of services should the situation worsen.
  • Communication to members: SACCOs are encouraged to make necessary communications to members about any changes in business operations that may affect service delivery.

 

KUSCCO

In addition to some of above measures, KUSCCO circulated communication to member-SACCOs to implement safety measures such as:

  • Promoting and practicing hygiene by providing hand washing facilities in the banking halls, regularly cleaning objects that are touched frequently, providing enough boxes of tissue paper, removing magazines and papers from the waiting areas and common rooms, and limiting all forms of employee gatherings.
  • Limiting physical meetings or business travel, including promoting home stay policies for employees.
  • Promoting safe food handling and limiting food sharing.
  • Promoting open and timely communication with employees and members

Internally, KUSCCO has also allowed most of its staff to work from home, except for a very few handling critical roles, such as managers.

TIFI pilot SACCOs in Kenya have adhered to most of the provided guidelines. Some have implemented their own specific measures as well.

Source : https://www.woccu.org/newsroom/covid19_resources?post_id=1811#1811

Saccos umbrella organisation Kuscco wants public institutions compelled to release withheld deductions now standing at Sh3 billion to enable saccos survive the virus pandemic.

Kuscco managing director George Ototo said ministries, parastatals and private employers must release the funds to improve cash flow to enable saccos respond to demand by members.

“The government must move fast to penalise offending chief executives, vice chancellors and principal secretaries among state agency heads that deducted money from workers’ salaries but failed to remit the money.

“Now saccos are reeling from a raft of loan demands they cannot meet and this has forced many members to file quit notices so as to access their savings for meeting their daily expenses," he said.

Last February, Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani gave State agency and other public entities up to June 30 to clear all statutory dues and verified supplier bills, warning that a caveat on future expenditures will be placed on agencies that miss the deadline.

Mr Yatani said he will demand a payment plan from all offending entities, saying they were giving the government a bad name, adding statutory deductions should be a priority during budgeting. Mr Ototo said Kuscco is compiling a list of all offending public entities with a view to shaming chief executives and board chairmen.

At the same time the World Council of Credit Unions has called on the government to designate saccos as “essential” service providers during the Covid-19 crisis.

"Exclusion of saccos from the definition of 'essential' prohibits them from providing these necessary and often life-saving services. Credit unions should not be arbitrarily left to die off because they were omitted from a definition of 'bank' or 'financial Institution,'" said World Council Vice President of Advocacy Andrew Price.

Mr Price said empowering saccos will enable Kenya's 14 million savers enjoy affordable loans much needed to weather the Covid-19 crisis.

 

Source: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/markets/marketnews/Kuscco-asks-agencies-to-release-Sh3bn-to-saccos/3815534-5526420-ppxxxrz/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0ud9QkRmQFs9ICOC3IOpEvLlSPWvoJEssRYjyW_Rt9NfULNxz6avJn48g

The Cooperative Alliance of Kenya (CAK) has appealed to societies to reconsider suspending interest rates on existing loans to cushion members against the economic down turn occasioned the Covid 19 pandemic..

CAK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Marube told a press conference after evaluating the economic implication of Novel Coronavirus in Kenya that members of the co-operative societies were worse off financially as majority were sent on unpaid leave due to the threat of the pandemic.
He urged the societies to work out ways of waiving the interest charged on existing loans as part of their contribution in solidarity with the collective and wider fight to contain the highly contagious disease.

Marube cited workers in the industrial, horticultural, aviation and hospitality sectors where their Sacco’s were adversely affected by the Covid 19 pandemic.
“Affiliated members of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCO) in horticulture, hospitality and Aviation industries are withdrawing their savings to cater for their basic needs”, he said
He noted that the top management of the Sacco’s in the said subsectors have expressed concern over the worrying trend after members are applied for withdrawal of their savings as the effects of the Covid-19 continue to ravage.

This trend, Marube said if not curtailed was likely to affect the liquidity levels of the societies and equally discourage the saving culture in the country.
“We want to make a clarion call to the co-operative movement to rise to the occasion and remain faithful to the social responsibility and care for others at this time”, he said Marube reiterated that as a cooperative movement, and in collaboration with the State Department for Co-operatives they had constituted the Co-operative Coronavirus Response Committee (CCRC) to coordinate mobilization of resources and dissemination of support to critically affected co-operative societies.
“We call upon all of us to pull resources and support those vulnerable and were adversely affected by this pandemic as part of our humanitarian calling”, he said.
He appealed to the leaders of SACCOs through their CSR, partners and friends of the Cooperative movement to assist in donating through the Co-operative Covid-19 Response Fund, Co-operative Bank of Kenya Upper Hill Branch, A/C No. 01143164029200 Or Paybill No. 400222 Account No. 557473#Individual’s Name or Name of Society.


“We are focusing to raise atleast Ksh 1 billion this week to buy basic food items to members who have been affected such as loss of jobs and am sure with individual members who are over 14 million, we can be able to do so”, he said
The CEO called upon employers who were yet to remit members contributions to clear pending arrears to do so and pay up members’ dividends promptly even if they had not held to their Annual General Meeting.

“We encourage co-operatives that are yet to hold their AGMs and have surplus to speedily credit their members’ account as per the Commissioner for Co-operative Development’s directive on payment of dividends and interest on deposits by members issued on the 26th of March 2020”,
Marube has however asked members of societies not to panic saying that the Sacco model has been known to be very resilient in times of crisis but cautioned them to prioritize their expenditures.

He also urged lenders to offer loan packages that were responsive to the harsh economic times and factored the security and repayment components.
Meanwhile , the Concorde Sacco Society Ltd that draws its membership from employees of various international airlines operating in Kenya, travel agencies and other travel related organizations in one of the most affected by the covid 19.

According to the Sacco Board of directors’ chairperson Rosemary Ateka, she confirmed that members were withdrawing their savings to survive the consequences of the pandemic.

She expressed fears that most of their members were either sent home or were on half salaries prompting members to withdraw their savings.
“Our members who happen to be employees of the international airlines that were stopped from operating are at home while some are on half salary. Every week we are registering not less than 20 applications seeking their savings immediately. They are even ready to forego 2.5 percent of the savings which is mandatory for anyone in need of the proceeds immediately,” said Ateka.

She noted that apart from affecting the liquidity levels and membership as well, withdrawals will see members not able to build up on their savings again once the pandemic is addressed. “We have been engaging members on financial talk but still the trend seems to increase daily “.
The Covid-19 virus has wrecked the whole world much less occasioning big loss to human life and associated public challenges that have been witnessed in recently history.

Source: https://www.kenyanews.go.ke/impact-of-covid-19-hits-co-operatives/

 

As Kenyans struggle to cope with the various restrictions brought about by the global Coronavirus pandemic, every effort should be made to ensure that the hurdles they are currently undergoing do not push them farther into a cesspit of unending woes.

With majority of the workforce now working from home as employers move to effect the social distancing rules brought about by the war against the disease, it is worrying to note that some firms have not met their end of the bargain and have either delayed salaries or even laid off staff.

We are combating a deadly and faceless enemy that the world has never encountered before hence the need to ensure that the population is not burdened by more problems like financial challenges and job loss fears.

It is there welcome to note that the saccos’ umbrella organisation, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco), now wants public institutions compelled to release withheld deductions that currently stand at Sh3 billion to enable them survive the pandemic.

Kuscco argues that ministries, parastatals and private sector employers must release the funds to improve the cash flow so as to enable saccos respond to rising demand for funds by members. It is indeed unacceptable for any organisation to withhold monies that have been deducted from an employee’s salary.

At this trying period, Kenyans need access to funds to meet their day-to-day urgent needs that include food and rent. Denying them their money is not humane at all. It is estimated that 14 million Kenyans are members of saccos. We concur with Kuscco’s call for the government to penalise State agency heads that have deducted money from workers’ salaries, but failed to remit the same.

Kuscco’s plan to compile a list of all errant public entities with a view to shaming the top officials is also a good step. It rightly argues that they are reeling from rising loan demands that they cannot meet, which has even prompted some members to quit the saccos in order to access their savings so as to survive.

Given that the Treasury had given State agencies and other public entities up to June 30 to clear all statutory dues and verified supplier bills, these officials have no reason to hold onto the monies thus they deserve to be punished without fail.

Source: https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/analysis/editorials/Punish-firms-refusing-to-remit-deductions/4259378-5528704-j049sx/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1rrlJ2eJiPF7lQWoM7AiLlDAC1a36jaQrcWDKtRIzTTTKfKFSxto1_e8I

ISO 9001

KUSCCO QUALITY POLICY

We commit to consistently promote SACCOs through advocacy and provision of quality technical and financial products that exceed the members’ expectations.
We shall comply with the statutory requirements and actively pursue continuous improvement of the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS) processes, capabilities and effectiveness.
In pursuit of our commitment we shall ensure that the quality policy and objectives that have been established and communicated to the Union employees shall be reviewed annually in accordance with the stipulated framework and quality standards.”