Top 29 Kenyan SACCOs: How Technology Is Transforming Saccos And Challenging Banks

By Steve Biko Wafula / Published May 21, 2023 | 9:45 am




KEY POINTS

Technology has not only transformed saccos but also challenged banks in Kenya. Saccos have leveraged technology to offer more competitive and attractive financial services to its members and potential customers.


Investment SACCOs

KEY TAKEAWAYS


Saccos have a long history in Kenya, dating back to the 1950s, and have become a significant contributor to the country’s economy. As of 2021, there were over 20,000 registered saccos in Kenya, serving over 15 million members.


Saccos, or savings and credit cooperative societies, are member-owned and member-driven financial institutions that provide affordable and accessible financial services to their members.

Saccos have a long history in Kenya, dating back to the 1950s, and have become a significant contributor to the country’s economy. As of 2021, there were over 20,000 registered saccos in Kenya, serving over 15 million members.

However, many saccos in Kenya still operate in a manual system, which limits their efficiency, growth, and competitiveness. In this article, we will explore how technology is transforming saccos and challenging banks in Kenya.

Related Content: 47% Of Kenyans Will Invest In A Sacco, 28% In Money Markets

Technology and Saccos: Breaking the Mould

Technology has played a crucial role in accelerating the digitization of saccos in Kenya. Advancements in fintech have enabled saccos to offer more convenient, secure, and innovative financial services to their members. Some of the ways that technology has transformed saccos include:

  1. Mobile banking: Many saccos have partnered with mobile network operators to provide mobile banking services to their members. This has enabled members to access financial services from anywhere, anytime, using their mobile phones. Members can check their balances, transfer funds, pay bills, apply for loans, receive alerts, etc., using their mobile phones23.
  2. Digital loan disbursement and repayment: In the past, saccos used to disburse loans manually, which was a lengthy and time-consuming process. However, with digital loan disbursement systems, saccos can now disburse loans to their members’ mobile wallets within minutes. Members can also repay their loans using mobile money platforms or bank transfers23.
  3. Biometric systems: Some saccos have adopted biometric systems to enhance their security and identity verification processes. Biometric systems use fingerprints or facial recognition to authenticate members and prevent fraud23.
  4. Digital platforms: Some saccos have developed digital platforms such as websites or apps to provide online services to their members. Members can access information, apply for membership, make inquiries, etc., using these platforms.

Related Content: Demystifying The Sacco Business In Kenya

Technology and Saccos: Challenging Banks

Technology has not only transformed saccos but also challenged banks in Kenya. Saccos have leveraged technology to offer more competitive and attractive financial services to its members and potential customers. Some of the ways that saccos have challenged banks include:

  1. Lower costs: Saccos have lower operational costs than banks due to their cooperative nature and structure. They also pass on these cost savings to their members by offering lower interest rates on loans and higher dividends on savings.
  2. Higher returns: Saccos have higher returns than banks due to their higher loan recovery rates and lower non-performing loans. They also share these returns with their members by offering higher dividends on savings24.
  3. Greater trust: Saccos have greater trust than banks due to their member-owned and member-driven model. Members have more confidence and loyalty in saccos than banks because they feel that they have a stake and a voice in the organization.
  4. Greater social impact: Saccos have a greater social impact than banks due to their social responsibility and community orientation. Saccos support various social causes and initiatives such as education, health care, environment, etc., that benefit their members and communities.

Related Content: 20 Reasons Why Saccos Are The Best Vehicles For Accessing Credit For Major Investments

Technology has been a game-changer for saccos in Kenya. It has enabled them to improve their service delivery and efficiency and to expand their reach and relevance to more customers. It has also enabled them to challenge banks in Kenya by offering more competitive and attractive financial services to their members. By embracing technology, saccos can continue to play a vital role in the Kenyan economy and society.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the many benefits of saccos in Kenya, they also face some challenges and limitations that affect their performance and sustainability. Some of these challenges include:

Lack of adequate capital and liquidity: Some saccos may not have enough funds to meet the demand for loans from their members or to invest in new products or technologies. This may limit their growth potential and competitiveness in the market.

Lack of proper governance and management: Some saccos may suffer from poor governance and management practices that affect their efficiency and accountability. This may include issues such as corruption, fraud, mismanagement, lack of transparency, poor record keeping, etc.

Lack of regulation and supervision: Some saccos may not comply with the regulatory requirements set by SASRA or other authorities. This may expose them to risks such as insolvency, misappropriation, non-performing loans, etc.

Lack of innovation and diversification: Some saccos may not adapt to the changing needs and preferences of their members or the market. This may affect their relevance and attractiveness to potential and existing members.

However, these challenges also present opportunities for improvement and growth for saccos in Kenya. Some of these opportunities include:

  1. Leveraging technology: Saccos can use technology to enhance their service delivery and efficiency. For example, saccos can use mobile banking, digital platforms, biometric systems, etc., to reach more members, reduce costs, improve security, etc.
  2. Expanding membership: Saccos can attract more members by offering more products and services that suit their needs and preferences. For example, saccos can offer microfinance, insurance, investment, etc., to cater to different segments of the market.
  3. Partnering with other stakeholders: Saccos can collaborate with other stakeholders such as government agencies, private sector entities, NGOs, etc., to access more resources, support, and opportunities. For example, saccos can partner with government programs such as Vision 2030, Big Four Agenda, etc., to access funding, infrastructure, policy support, etc.

Related Content: Stima Sacco Deposits Spike To Ksh 39.43 Billion

Saccos are important financial institutions that provide significant benefits to their members and communities in Kenya. They contribute to economic and social development by providing financial inclusion and empowerment to their members. They also support various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, housing, trade, etc., and foster social welfare and cohesion among their members. However, saccos also face some challenges and limitations that affect their performance and sustainability. They need to overcome these challenges and seize the opportunities that exist in the market to improve their service delivery and efficiency. By doing so, saccos can continue to play a vital role in the Kenyan economy.

Here’s a table outlining the top 30 SACCOs in Kenya, along with their net worth, membership, and year of establishment:

Related Content: Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Join A SACCO Today




About Steve Biko Wafula

Steve Biko is the CEO OF Soko Directory and the founder of Hidalgo Group of Companies. Steve is currently developing his career in law, finance, entrepreneurship and digital consultancy; and has been implementing consultancy assignments for client organizations comprising of trainings besides capacity building in entrepreneurial matters.He can be reached on: +254 20 510 1124 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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