By Munene Maina
Loise Methu has come a long way to be at the helm of Nakuru based Cosmopolitan Sacco Society Limited. Initially employed as an office sweeper by this Society, Methu will retire as a Chief Executive Officer of the same organization.
Her story is one characterized by steadfastness, patience and focus. She has stoically overcome challenges along the way to be among top women leaders in the co-operative movement.
It all began in 1982 when the then young and energetic Methu got her first job at the Sacco- then known as Nakuru Teachers Sacco. She had just completed her secondary education and as a casual her job entailed sweeping and other office support duties.
Cosmopolitan Sacco was registered in 1977 by 43 teachers, who came together to establish a society that could empower them economically. The Sacco had two members of staff.
“The Sacco had few members and contributions, thus could not afford to hire more employees. We had to do all the work,” recalls Methu.
In 1983, membership numbers had begun to increase. Methu was promoted to the position of a clerk. “As a youth, this promotion motivated me. I soon realized that there is no limit to aspirations,” says a confident Methu.
Although she had the option of pursuing a career in community nursing or teaching, she decided to stick with the Sacco.
“Since I joined this Sacco I have never walked out. I have worked here all my life. There were times when I felt I wanted to have a change. This was after seeing colleagues leave the Sacco for greener pastures. But this desire is no more. I am content and my focus now is to see the Sacco meet members’ needs,” Methu observed.
Having worked as an accountant, internal auditor and deputy CEO, Methu was promoted to the position of CEO in 2012. This is after her predecessor retired.
It is under her watch that Cosmopolitan Sacco rebranded from Nakuru Teachers Sacco before opening a common bond, allowing members from other professions to join the Society. The rebranding process has brought good tidings to the Sacco which now has over 20,000 members. The Sacco’s Asset base has reached Sh 4.1 billion and the loan portfolio of over Sh 3.5 billion at the close of 2016 financial year.
“My aim is to ensure that the Sacco continues to offer customer-oriented services. This is how we have been able to record significant growth over the years,” said Methu.
She said that the Sacco has adopted the required IT infrastructure; including investing heavily in a mobile banking platform so that members can transact real-time from their mobile phones. Members also have ATM cards.
Under Methu’s watch, Cosmopolitan Sacco expanded its branch network and now has a presence in Nakuru, Narok, Molo, Naivasha and Bahati.
Looking back, Methu attests that Cosmopolitan Sacco has stood the test of time as an accomplished financial institution.
“Visionary and supportive board members backed by committed members of staff deserve credit for having come thus far. I cannot forget our loyal members who have stood with us,” said Methu.
Although Nakuru County has been attracting many banks and Saccos, Methu is confident that Cosmopolitan Sacco is equal to the challenge.
“We are exploring ways of retaining members even as we recruit new ones. A member who takes a loan and finds it difficult to set up a project can put the cash in a fixed deposit account of a period of three, six months or one year,” said Methu.
Undoubtedly, an elite Cosmopolitan Sacco has won several top awards, both at the National and County levels.
“We recently won a national trophy for Sacco with the lowest expenditure and third best Sacco in loaning services, teachers Sacco category. The Sacco also won a trophy for Best insured Sacco in Rift Valley region and Best managed co-operative in Nakuru County,” said Methu.
She added that Cosmopolitan Sacco’s vision is to be a modern Society, offering high-quality financial services to the members.
Born and bred in Nakuru, Methu is motivated to see how Cosmopolitan Sacco has uplifted the livelihood of members.
Methu, a mother of three, says her family has been supportive in all her endeavors. “I studied while still working at the Sacco and this required a lot of sacrifices,” said Methu.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Egerton University and a Diploma in Co-operative administration from Co-operative University of Kenya. Methu feels that although the Government has not done enough to support the co-operatives sector, a lot of progress has been made.
She disclosed that the Sacco plans to leverage on technology so as to improve service delivery to members. Cosmopolitan Sacco’s mission is to provide financial empowerment to members through quality financial services.
“We encourage members to be saving with the Sacco, mobilizing these funds so as to provide timely credit and continuous education to them,” said Methu.