More Saccos dropping banking agencies, opt for mobile banking

Technological advancement is fast-shaping operations and performance in the Sacco and wider financial and banking sector, lessening inconveniences and the high cost of opening and running physical branches.

A spot check by Sacco Review has established that more Saccos prefer mobile banking to agency banking due to convenience for members and more profit to the institutions.

A number of Saccos said that they were aware that most of their members were tech-savvy and desired more convenience and access to services at any time, wherever they are.

They reported having adopted the use of USSD codes and mobile applications (apps) which allow members to send money from their accounts to M-Pesa, inquire account balances, change PINs, apply and repay loans, make deposits and also access mini-statements.

Janet Sang, CEO of Nandi Farmers’ Co-operative Society, said that convenience is helping mobile banking services edge out banking agencies which are limited to specific locations and are open at specific times.

“While we have partnered with two banks as their agents, we don’t see the need for contracting agents to work on our behalf because mobile banking serves the purpose. Agency business is being overtaken by mobile banking,” she said.

Nakuru’s Vision Afrika Operations Manager Gibson Terer said that the partnership with banks gives them a good commission while revealing that they have applied for a license to allow them to open agency service in remote areas.

In Trans Nzoia, Trans National Times Sacco Chairperson Evans Sichangi, said that they are working with banks as agents but the business is not doing well in many areas where residents are low-income earners, adding that agency banking is doing well only in Kachibora because of the economic stability of farmers in the area.

“In this digital age, both banking and Sacco agencies cannot fully meet the needs of our members. This is why we have embraced mobile banking which is more convenient. With this, our clients can access our services wherever they are,” Sichangi said.

By Amos Kerich

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