BUSINESS: Bestrock SACCO on the right business path

Bestrock Sacco Chairman Francis Muli Kithae addressing the Sacco members during a past event. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Bestrock Savings and Credit Cooperative Society’s share capital grew to Sh18, 715,775 in 2020 from 2019’s Sh18, 072,571.

This is according to the society’s chairman, Mr. Francis Muli Kithae who added that deposits grew to Sh141, 982,259 in 2020 from Sh123, 393,076 in 2019.

The membership grew to 4,370 from 4,100 members over the same period.

“Interest on deposit grew to Sh5,679,290 in 2020 up from Sh4,935,723 in 2019,” he said.

Loans to the members grew from Sh137, 765,708 in 2019 to Sh149, 728,168 in 2020 while total operating costs reduced from Sh15,869,455 in 2019 to Sh13,649,580 in 2020.

Kithae said that the society’s benevolent fund grew from Sh4,194,328  in 2019 to Sh4,659,578 shillings in 2020 while income increased to Sh30,452,200 in 2020 from Sh27,780,030 in 2019.

Kithae was speaking during their society’s 10th annual general meeting held at the Kitui Multipurpose Development Training Institute, recently.

The Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Society Limited Training Manager Elijah Mulwa was the chief guest at the function.

The Sacco has its headquarters in Kitui Town.

The Sacco leader announced that the growth in the member deposits went down from 29 per cent to 17.8 per cent during the year under review.

“This negative trend will be reversed since the Sacco is now using the bulk short messages platform to remind our members to contribute savings end month. We tried it last month and the response was very good,” Kithae said.

The chairman announced that currently they are able to give a maximum loan limit of five million shillings with a maximum payment period of 24 months.

“However, this depends on one’s ability to pay the loan notwithstanding the three times multiplier,” he said.

He added that increasing their deposits will also enable them to revise their upper loan limit and consequently extend their maximum repayment period to 36 months as per their loan policy.

He said that the Savings Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) would from June this year authorise them to carry out the back office service activities (BOSA).

The Sacco diversified its portfolio through investments in the KUSCCO savings and shares and also in the money market in the Cooperative Insurance Company (CIC), he said.

The society has a total of 14 staff members as at December 2020.

“The brand image, loyalty and promise of any organisation is well represented by its employees,” Kithae said.

He announced that their strategic plan is due for review this year and that during the year, their policies were reviewed by their partner KUSCCO.

“These policies will help us to improve our service delivery. We are pleased to recommend to you for the consideration and declaration of interest on deposits at four per cent and dividends on shares at 7.5 per cent for the year ended on December 31, 2020 which amounts to some 5,679,290 shillings and 1,403,685 shillings per share respectively,” he said during the meeting.

“During the year, we received dividends of 53,410 shillings. The Sacco also invested in the Cooperative Insurance Company money market and we are getting a good return on our investment,” the cooperator said.

He announced that they expect to conduct two member education days this year as per their strategic plan.

“We will continue training our board members and the staff to shoulder their administrative and technical commitments and responsibilities effectively,” he said.

“To maintain quality service, the board has continued to invest in skills development and retention to match the Sacco demands. The Sacco now has qualified and experienced staff members like any other financial institution,” the chairman added.

He said the member recruitment growth dropped from 45.3 per cent to some 6.5 per cent during the year under review due to the Covid-19 effects.

“In order to boost the membership, the Sacco will be giving a commission of 200 shillings to any member, who recruits another member and they pay a 10,000 shillings capital share,” the cooperator announced.

Kithae said that the Coop Bank platform is a convenient solution through which the back office Saccos can comfortably pay the dividends to their members “especially during this COVID-19 season.”

During the meeting, the members approved the Sacco’s maximum borrowing power of 60 million shillings be retained.

“As your chairman, I am sincerely humbled to see how this Sacco has steadily grown from just below 40 members in 2010 to the current number under my stewardship,” Kithae said.

Regarding the opening of the branches, Kithae said: “Last year we were not able to open a new branch or even a satellite office in Mutomo District as earlier reported in my last year’s report. We flagged off a mass membership recruitment drive following a successful meeting with government agencies and the business community and other opinion leaders.

These members are met weekly on Fridays. We will start with a desk then satellite before opening a fully-fledged branch,” he said.

“The minimum requirement for full branch as per our feasibility study is 700 members, some twelve million shillings deposit and a 25 million shillings loan portfolio,” he added.

The Sacco has a branch in Mwingi Town, Mwingi Central District within Kitui County

On the development shares (sinking fund), the chairman announced that the Sacco wants to own its building within the Kitui Town’s central business district (CBD) in the future.

“In order to achieve this, I am proposing that our members should start contributing shares at a minimum of 5,000 shillings per member,” he said.

The Sacco’s best members among them the depositors, borrowers, shareholders, recruits and portfolios were awarded.

The society was registered as the Kitui Biashara Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited in 1999 covering the then larger Kitui District but later rebranded and changed its name to the Bestrock Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited on February 20, 2013 with an expanded area of operation covering the lower eastern Kenya region that comprises the Kitui, Machakos and Makueni Counties.

The society caters for savings and credit needs of the business people, salaried employees, hawkers, jua kali artisans and small and medium entrepreneurs among others.

During the function, the society’s management committee and supervisory committee elections were conducted where the board members Monna Joel, Hillary Makola, Justin M. Kivunzi and James Ngene were re-elected unopposed to continue in the society’s leadership.

The elections were presided over by an official from the Kitui County Trade, Investments and Cooperatives Development Ministry Alice Zakayo.

The function was also addressed by the society’s Chief Executive Officer Michael M. Mutua, the Secretary Ted K. Munyoki and the Supervisory Committee Chairman Justin M. Kivunzi.

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