Ubunifu Sacco: the Journey so far
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From modest beginnings, Ubunifu Sacco initially started as a savings club in 2013 with about 12 members. Over the period of the next couple of months, the savings club continued to grow. Being freelancers, majority of people would not get loan services from commercial banks. Therefore the savings club was formed to provide financial services based on unique member needs. Later the savings club grew and there was need to form a more formalised entity that would open up membership to other like-minded people. Therefore at the beginning of 2015, members agreed to convert the savings club into a sacco. The impetus for transitioning to a sacco was simple- to form a platform whereby members would be able to save and gain access to credit at affordable rates based on the unique member needs. An interim management team to foresee the process of transforming into a sacco was elected by members in March 2015. The team would go ahead and serve for a period of three months pending a General Meeting that would elect the officials to steer the sacco forward. Ubunifu Sacco received its certificate of incorporation on 22nd May 2015. Later the first AGM was held on June 17 2015 whereby a new board was voted in by members.
Majority of sacco members are young people. Therefore Ubunifu’s main focus is to provide tailor-made financial services to members. In addition, the Sacco aims to always focus on innovative financial services in order to ultimately revolutionise the manner in which services are rendered to members. This being the technology age, the sacco endeavours to continuously innovate and find effective and efficient ways of providing services to members. Based on the realisation that technology can be used to ensure efficiency in the manner in which the sacco conducts its business, the Sacco launched mobile payments platform whereby members can easily make their monthly savings through their mobile phones. In addition, the sacco acquired accounting software that has played a crucial role in streamlining activities such as tracking of member contributions, loan processing and sacco books of accounts. Later on the sacco designed a website that easily updates members of all sacco related activities. Members can easily apply for a loan through the website.
Another major area of focus for Ubunifu is to continually come up with new savings and loans products that reflect member needs. The sacco continues to focus on products that give value to members and help the Sacco generate returns. The nature of products offered by the sacco will ultimately make it stand out in terms of meeting member financial needs. This is a continuous process that we all aim to achieve. For example during the last sacco SGM held on June 3rd 2016, anew loan product, TEKE TEKE LOAN was introduced. This new product is based on assessment that members need access to emergency loans within a short period of time. Therefore with this loan, members can apply and get a loan within the same working day. It is also flexible because members do not need guarantors and access to the loan is also not tied to existing loan obligation. With time, the allocated amount for the loan is expected to increase depending on demand. There are also other loan products such as normal loan, elimu loan, development loan, Jienjoy loan and household loan. Information about these loans can be found on the sacco website. Continuous improvement is therefore essential in ensuring Ubunifu soars to greater heights and becomes a source of pride to members.
Moreover the Sacco aims to provide members with platforms that members can contribute their ideas and opinions about the growth of the sacco. Such platforms also seek to provide the sacco stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the investment opportunities that members can take advantage. One of such platforms is this blog. We hope that this blog will become member centred so that we can exchange ideas, share and interact on a wide array of issues.
Member training is also important in order to ensure members are aware of financial management as well as their roles and responsibilities in ensuring Ubunifu sacco grows to become the most efficient youth based sacco in East Africa. So far, the sacco has been able to disburse loans in excess of ksh 2 million and it our delight that the sacco will continue to play a role in supporting members financial needs.
Moving forward, the sacco aims to recruit more members in order to ensure it reaches out to more members and also ensure a higher amount of money is available for loaning. This is a task that we all take responsibility for because it is crucial for future growth of the sacco. Together, we endeavour to transform Ubunifu Sacco into a vibrant, dynamic and a sacco that members can be proud of and one that continues to grow in future while meeting member needs.
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