Ukulima Sacco Driving Kenya’s Informal Sector With Innovative Loan Products
By KJ Odongo
Ukulima Sacco has seen tremendous growth since rebranding last year in a bid to expand its market share within Kenya’s small and medium enterprises, a move aimed at growing and doubling its performance within the 2022 – 2026 strategic plan.
Established in the year 1972, Ukulima is a National Sacco in Kenya with its Headquarters in the capital city of Nairobi and FOSA Branch Networks in Kisumu, Mombasa, Eldoret, Embu, Nakuru, Kisii and Kakamega.
The Sacco was registered in 1972 as a Co-operative Savings and Credit Society and started operation under Certificate of registration number CS2026. Initially the Sacco recruited its members from the Ministry of Agriculture and related departments of livestock and water and their parastatals who are mainly salaried employees. The Sacco, in its morphing, has since opened its common bond to onboard Kenyans in the entrepreneurial space.
The Sacco membership, is now open to the larger business community, ‘Chamas’, corporate bodies as well as individual Kenyans living in the Diaspora.
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Over the years, the Sacco has undertaken continuous transformation process geared to enhance its growth, efficiency and customer experience. The Society is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified , a clear indication of its commitment to providing quality services to its valued members.
The Society provides both Front Office and Back office banking services with products such as the JIJENGE LOAN, TUJIJENGE LOAN and WEZESHA LOAN.
According to Ukulima Sacco National Chairman Dr. Philip Cherono, the institution is continuously seeking ways of diversifying its market base as it envisions to be a world-class preferred financial partner.
“Since inception in 1972, Ukulima Sacco has maintained its brand name. We are a household name, however, we are taking a new direction, revamping our products, leveraging on technology and expanding our reach through the opening of the common bond that has seen us recruit members from various sectors. This move is strategic and will see the Sacco grow tenfold,” Said Dr. Cherono.
The Sacco has over the last 12 months enhanced its micro-Credit function that has seen business people and members of the informal sector, who are mainly unsalaried access affordable loans secured by land, motor vehicles and other collaterals. Initially the Sacco operated on a Sacco model that relied on member guarantorship.
Aiming to transform lives through resource mobilization and provision of innovative financial solutions, Ukulima Sacco’s Board of Directors and Management have reviewed the institution’s operating structures and business focus in order to remain competitive in the ever dynamic and disruptive business environment.
Ukulima Sacco Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Richard Nyaanga, speaking to the Corporate Watch Magazine noted that the Sacco is capitalizing on the 2022- 2026 strategic plan to grow its membership, grow its loan book, deposits, share capital and revenue as envisioned in the Key Result Areas.
“As per the 2022- 2026 strategic plan, we are already witnessing growth in membership as well as on the loan book and share capital. These gains will in the long run translate into high return to our members”, said Mr. Nyaanga.
Currently, Ukulima Sacco boasts of a membership of over 47,000 members, an asset base of Sh14 billion, deposits above Sh 10 billion and loan uptake of up to Sh15 billion. The Sacco has introduced agency banking to supplement the eight Brick and mortar branches and increased presence in areas that are far away from the physical branches.
Further, the Sacco has acquired business intelligence systems that have been key in analyzing the Saccos business performance in a bid to make informed strategic decisions geared towards growth of the Sacco.
In addition, the Sacco has implemented a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) that encompasses a 24/7 member support and call center to enhance service delivery.
“We are leveraging on technology to spur service delivery. The two systems add to the already existing ICT infrastructure that support our E-Channels that include, Mobile Banking and ATM services. These fronts have made it easier for our members to access services and products”, Ukulima CEO Mr. Nyaanga said.
Ukulima Sacco’s strategic plan 2022-2026 which was launched during the Sacco’s golden jubilee celebrations, last year takes into account, changes in the operating business environment as well as the need to align services with members’ financial needs.
“The Ukulima Sacco Board of Directors and Management has reviewed the SACCO’s operating structures and business focus in order to remain competitive and relevant in the ever dynamic and disruptive business environment. With this new approach we are set to offer convenient innovative products,” Mr. Nyaanga mentioned.
With focus shifting to the informal sector, Ukulima Sacco is counting on turning around the customer focus with an intention to offer the best for members within the strategic plan timeline and beyond.