By Azael Masese
Kenya National Police Deposit-Taking Sacco is crafting an ambitious growth strategy aimed at positioning itself as a critical brand in mobilising savings and extending affordable credit, even as the number of Kenyans joining the Sacco to access its top notch products and services grows overboard, Board Chair David Mategwa has said.
“We have differentiated ourselves through good governance as people want to save where their trust and confidence is high,” he said.
It is no wonder that people are willing to move their money to the Sacco en masse, attributable to the trust and belief that their money is safe.
“Earning people’s confidence is the way you do things, the way they see you conduct things and the benefits they are reaping, and that is where we are,” he said.
This has been achieved through numerous education and training programmes for members, delegates, Board and management to enrich the quality of decisions and productivity.
A number of its directors have undergone training in US, UK, and Canada, among other countries, to expose them and make quality contributions towards performance.
Through the support of African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association (ACCOSCA), the delegates are trained by consultants from US, UK and Canada, home to the world’s best credit Unions.
“We have invested in education and training for members to know what we are doing and what we want them to do to support the Sacco,” noted Mategwa.
As a result, they know the kind of delegates to elect who in turn are expected to understand their role, their impact on membership and the decisions they are bound to make.
“We have really invested in the Board right from the supervisory committee and everybody is at par to think differently and make better decisions to grow for the next thirty years, which is our focus,” he went on.
All cadres of employees right from the officers at the gate to the CEO go for training to improve their morale and confidence.
Senior management has benchmarked with the best brains in the world.
“We want to create a culture where every employee has a positive attitude and feel part of the organization,” he told Sacco Review.
Another key feature of its growth is the massive investment in technology, notable among them the M-Tawi, which Mategwa likened to a virtual bank.
The Society has seven physical branches and is counting on making M-Tawi its branch, able to transcend physical borders.
“M-Tawi is our virtual bank and another branch, which has been instrumental in boosting our growth prospects,” he stated.
Its critical importance came into play during the Covid-19 when members had to transact from the comfort of their homes and offices.
The Society has branches in Meru, Kisii, Kakamega, Eldoret, Mombasa, Nyeri, and Nakuru, with Mategwa terming them strategic as they can serve other regions.
He singled out the top savers seminars, which have increasingly become popular among members keen to increase their savings.
“The top ten savers in 2021 had an opportunity to attend a training in Thailand and Bangkok in 2022 and this has proved a masterstroke,” he said, adding: “Going by the present member deposit, only four out of the ten who made to the list in 2021 might be overtaken as the rest have been replaced by members keen to increase their savings,” he stated.
He said that as a leader, one has to see far and make bold decisions for the good of the Society as opposed to focus on individuals.
The Society conducts regional seminars where top financial consultants engage members aimed at improving their finance literacy levels.
“When Covid-19 struck, the Society was well prepared through the assistance of its risk department that makes projections about the future.
This department analyses data on how the global economy is behaving and prepares actionable measures in case of any possible exposures to risks,” he said.
Its global network also provides insights into any possible financial meltdown and the need to prepare well.
“Covid-19 will not pose the last shocks in the financial market as this is expected every after four to five years,” he said.
Every member is expected to contribute 12 per cent of their monthly incomes besides a minimum capital share of Ksh50,000.
The beauty about capitalization is that members earn interest and this encourages them to continuously increase their savings.
“This makes us prepare for any eventuality in future by getting our members cheap money as we do not depend on external borrowing,” he said.
He stated that for every net surplus reported each year, the Sacco retains a minimum of Ksh1 billion to cushion it during harsh economic times.
Consequently, retention, capitalization and removal of bad debts have enabled the Society to wean itself from external borrowing.
He said if Saccos fail to capitalize, Saccos might face liquidity challenges and is likely to fall or merge, hence the need to encourage members to increase their capitalization.
“We learn from China how they moved from a poor country to be the second largest economy through savings. If you want to join us, you must be ready to save 12 per cent of your monthly income,” he said.
In 2021, Kenya National Police DT Sacco issued the third highest loans to members totaling Ksh37.70 billion.
“The only place we want to invest is in our members by giving them loans. That is the way our investment is,” he remarked.
He said that Kenya National Police DT Sacco does not have the luxury of investing in building and buying other properties.
“The more we grow the loan book, the better we are as a Sacco since we were formed with the mandate to give loans,” he said.
As a result, there has been a huge shift in their business strategy.
“Unlike in the past when retired police officers went to work as guards in security firms, we have shifted that and if they want to engage in security business, they run the institutions as managers not as guards,” he said.
Mategwa said through the Society, police officers own properties in urban centres and are able to own good houses and take their children to good schools.
“We are now able to see them take their children to good schools and develop themselves,” he said, adding that they no longer feel inferior to other Kenyans in the civil service.
Kenya National Police DT Sacco, through the Inspector General of Police, sets aside a whole day to have a conversation about their financial wellbeing and encourage them to see themselves as lucky to get employed in government, the best employer in the country.
“We underscore the benefits of joining a Sacco as early as possible. Besides, we encourage them to inculcate a saving culture and take loans with a deliberate purpose of investing,” pointed out the Chair, adding: “That is why we have invested a lot in education and training and that is where we get the opportunity to offer financial literacy skills by letting them know the advantages of investing in a Sacco than a commercial bank.”
With the right information, Mategwa is optimistic that police officers are better placed to save in Saccos than commercial banks and this is set to propel them to greater financial heights.
“With this, we have seen a big shift where police officers move their savings from commercial banks to Saccos, and hence make Kenya Police Sacco a one stop shop as they can access mortgage, fixed accounts and loans,” he said.
As a result, members have trust and confidence in the institution and will bring all their investments since good governance structures have been put in place to do things above board.