Sacco progresses amid Covid -19 pandemic
The new look Sacco headquarters complex in Kerugoya town which has an elevator and state of the arts offices to let in the seven storeyed building
Bingwa Sacco has assumed an upward progressive trend despite the huge challenges posed by the breaking out of Covid -19 pandemic world over.
The Sacco has managed to pay its members a 14 per cent dividend even in the midst of this pandemic which brought the world economy to a standstill upon being reported in China in 2019.
With 19 branches spread across the country, the Sacco has managed to expand its headquarters to an ultra-modern complex in Kerugoya town without any external borrowing for the project .
The magnificent seven storeyed building located within the Central Business District (CBD), of the town has an elevator to comfortably cater for its occupants and visitors including those with physical challenges.
Sacco Chairman Francis Muriithi's portrait who succeeded Cyrus Kabira , who was the founder chairman upon his demise a few years ago.
According to its chairman Francis Muriithi , the SACCO’s asset base stands at Sh 7 billion .
“We have a membership of over 200,000 as at today and we have accommodated the tea farmers who are the prime shareholders , traders, teachers and all cadres of customers across the divide, “he said.
The Sacco was started way back in 1984 and was a pioneer in the tea sector while other Saccos that existed only in Nairobi depended on monthly contributions from employees.
Ms Jane Mugo , the SACCO CEO who has been navigating the organisation steadily for many years
It’s founder Chairman Cyrus Kabira ( now deceased), was a visionary entrepreneur who saw the existing opportunity and capitalized on it leading to this success story all are seeing today given it was the first rural Sacco in Kenya .
Initially the founders received stiff opposition even from the government of the day leading to the then Commissioner for the Cooperatives Erastus Muriithi to form a task force which he asked to examine the viability of such a rural venture.
The Task Force returned a negative report to the Commissioner but determined , the founders pleaded with Muriithi to give them a chance to prove their case.
Reluctantly, the official yielded “and the rapid growth and expansion we are seeing today is comparable to non within the cooperative movement years on “ according to the chairman.
The Sacco upon inception operated from a single timber room it was rented by the then giant Inoe Coffee Cooperative Society situated within the periphery of Kerugoya town.
Years later it moved to the town center and rented a more spacious office at the Kibetu Plaza from where the idea to buy a plot within the town was muted .
The Sacco then embarked on the building of its own office block which was officially opened by the then Leader of the Opposition Mwai Kibaki who later became the third President .
The seven storeyed ultra-modern complex SACCO Headquarters now stands distinctively at the heart of this rapidly growing agricultural based economy town
The Sacco’s strategic plan ended on December 31 ,last year but the management has come up with another five year one in order to ensure continuous growth .
“The Sacco has been issued with a SASRA License for this year (2021), after having met all the set standards despite the Covid-19 pandemic which has negatively affected the entire national and global economy,”Muriithi told the members during their 36 th Annual General Meeting held recently at the Kerugoya Catholic Church grounds .
The society , since inception has disbursed cumulative loans totaling to Sh 23.9 billion to the members as at December last year.
At inception, it was founded and registered as Kirinyaga Tea Growers Sacco but got rebranded to Bingwa Sacco as a marketing strategy about 10 years ago and to give it a national appeal.
The Sacco Chief Executive Officer Jane Mugo disbursed Sh 3.2 billion worth of loans to the members last year while repayment rate was encouraging .
“Despite the serious challenges the outbreak of the Covid- 19 pandemic has posed ,to local and International economy our members continue to service their loans and this encouraging trend is a clear indicator of a brighter future for this Sacco,”she said.
The Sacco she adds has a fleet of reliable vehicles which provide mobile services at the convenience of the members and who are mainly tea farmers in the upper zone of the county .
Ms Mugo who holds an MBA degree in entrepreneurship has been with the Sacco for over 28 years now and understands it inside out hence the tremendous growth , according to the chairman .
The CEO says already the Sacco has come up with new loan products for the members .
“We have introduced M-Banking services which our members have since embraced since our mission is to provide and offer the best as we stamp our presence in this highly competitive venture ,”the official said.
Adds Mugo “ and support of the achievement the government’s Big Four Agenda , we have partnered with the relevant agencies on the Housing sector to ensure our members live in affordable but decent houses ,”.
She said through the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC), Bingwa Sacco was offering up to sh25 million per willing member for housing purposes and repayable in a 10 year period.
“This move is a clear testimony of our full support to the government in its endeavor to achieve its agenda four program which was spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta as part of his legacy in the provision of decent but affordable houses to the citizenry ,”the CEO said.
Ms Mugo also said the organisation has a workforce of 300 permanent employees while thousands others were indirect beneficiaries of such employment .
The Sacco has over the years won various trophies for its unrivaled style of management by the rest which is associated with its rapid growth .
They include best managed Rural Sacco, high dividend rate paying (14 per cent for several years running), while the CEO and its founder chairman were decorated with medals by the former President Mwai Kibaki .
They received the Head of State Commendation (HSC), medals each for the positive impact into the national economy and improvement of livelihoods of the Sacco members
Ms Mugo’s parting shot “this Sacco is like the Goma volcano in the DRC Congo which upon erupting, soon , will spew branches all over the country and the entire East African Region becoming the largest financial institution ‘’