By Kamundia Muriithi
Nawiri Sacco Society Limited has rolled out an agency banking platform to enable its members in remote areas access banking services.
Headquartered in Embu town, Nawiri Sacco hopes to reach thousands of customers at the grassroots where literacy levels are still low, making it difficult for these residents to use the mobile banking platform.
The Nawiri Sacco mobile banking platform was launched in October 2014 and can be accessed by members by pressing *645# on their phone
Uptake of mobile banking has been commendable especially among youthful customers, according to Marketing and Public Relations Manager John Muriithi.
The Sacco is relying on agency banking to reach out to the elderly members who are unable to embrace mobile phones as a banking tool.
Muriithi said with SASRA’s authorization, Nawiri Sacco will set up agencies at various market centres that will offer various banking services to customers. One must have a stable business and ready to allow for regular inspection of its cash flows, to qualify as agents for Nawiri Sacco. An agent must also have adequate deposits and have a gadget that can process transactions in real time and print out receipts. The agent will also earn a commission and be well spread for th to avoid a situation where there is overcrowding and unhealthy competition.
“We are targeting remote areas where we have no branches such as Karurumo, Siakago, Kibugu and Ugweri among others. We will ensure that we place an agent capable of covering a wide area in order to earn good commissions,” said Muriithi.
He appealed to Nawiri Sacco members to take up agency banking so as to access faster banking services.
Figures indicate that Nawiri Sacco has an annual turnover of more than Sh 1 billion and a membership of more than 60,000
The introduction of Agency Banking is another feather on the cap of Nawiri Sacco which is one of the largest in Embu County and a leader in the region’s financial sector.
During the recent International Co-operatives Day, Nawiri Sacco scooped several awards at both the national and county level, including a trophy for Best Sacco in Training and Education nationally.
Muriithi attributes the awards to a very clear marketing plan where customers are segmented into categories such as youths, women, business people and self-help groups.
“We offer tailor made training for each category on financial, management and entrepreneurship. We make follow ups and measure their growth and impact and also graduate them. Consequently, we have improved members economically,” he said.
Nawiri Sacco also emerged as Third Best Rural Sacco in terms of dividend payout, at 12 per cent on their shares.
At county level, the Sacco won as Rural Sacco with Highest Dividend Rates and Sacco with the Highest Shares in Co-operative Insurance Company (CIC).
Muriithi revealed that Nawiri Sacco has partnered with CIC to ensure that members loans are insured.
Nawiri Sacco has rolled out an attractive loan product for the youth, priced at an interest rate of 8 per cent. This is in addition to free technical advice on business management. The Society is also offering a similar product to women groups and subsidized loans to those working for churches and schools as well as asset financing of upto 100 per cent to interested members.
The Society has a reputation for offering tailor made financial products and services to meet specific needs of Embu County farmers and uplift their living standards.
Established as Embu District Co-operative Union, Nawiri Sacco Society was first a Union Banking Section in 1979 and later changed its name to Embu Sacco in 1998.
In 2009, Embu Sacco rebranded to Nawiri Sacco and opened its common bond, allowing members from all sectors of the economy and Embu County, to become members.
By Kamundia Muriithi