By Azael Masese.
Mobile and agency banking platforms are key areas where Savings and Credit Societies (Saccos) will invest in stand alone Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) emerging as least among their priorities.
The sub sector is increasingly embracing new technologies to rope in the unbanked population and drive upwards their much desired growth.
Yetu Sacco, Chief Executive Officer, John Rukaria said that though they have invested in seven stand alone ATMs, they have no future plans to make more investments on the same.
“The number of our members using the M-Sacco mobile banking platform is on an upward trajectory and we will put on hold any investment on the stand alone ATMs,” he said.
He noted that they were compelled to have their own ATMs due to the unique characteristics of the members they serve.
“A survey we conducted indicated that majority of our members forgot their PIN numbers, hence decided to invest in a biometric one to make it easier to transact their business,” he said.
Majority of the members they serve are tea farmers and by having their own ATMs, he noted, was to complement those installed by the Cooperative Bank through the Sacco Link.
Qwetu Sacco Board chair, Alfred Mlolwa noted the heavy investment involved in standalone ATMs makes it unwise and unsound priority.
“Investing in the same will make it difficult for our members outside our geographical reach to undertake any transaction unlike mobile banking which can be made from anywhere,” he said.
Kenya Highlands Sacco Chief Executive Officer, Alice Kosgei said the number of members using mobile banking is increasing each day as compared to those using the ATMs.
“This clearly points to the fact that mobile banking is the future as compared to ATMs, which are very expensive to install and maintain,” she said.
Mombasa Port Sacco Chief Executive Officer, Ondieki Dedan ruled out any future investment in ATMs, arguing that technology is changing very fast and he does not see any future of the ATM in the Sacco sub-sector.
“Most people are shifting to mobile banking as they do not come to the banking hall to transact their business but do it from the comfort of their homes or workplace.
He disclosed that they have had a meeting with Cooperative Bank on the possibility of rolling out agency banking.
Shoppers Saco CEO, James Muchira identified agency banking as a key component of their future investment plans.
“To invest in a switch code and off load the cash might require us pay for these services which can be outsourced.
Wanandege Sacco Chief Executive Boniface Muthama said investing in a standalone ATM is a waste of members’ savings and should be treated as a no go zone.
“All that I need to do is to focus on my core business which is to mobilise savings and offer credit.
Mudete Tea Sacco Society CEO, Anthony Bitinyu said that their members are currently using mobile banking to carry out their transactions and this has been okay with them.
“This is serving our members well and having our own ATM might be possible in future but not now,” he said.