Struggling Saccos urged to consider mergers

By David Kipkorir

Saccos that have been weakened by an economic slump due to Covid-19 pandemic are being urged to consider mergers as a way to strengthen their books and allow them to compete more effectively in the changing industry landscape.

Jamii Sacco Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Daniel Achieng’ said stronger capital would make it easier for Saccos to offload bad debts piled up during the pandemic.

Achieng’ observed that Saccos could no longer rely on the trust and confidence of their members to grow hence the need for mergers and innovations.

“We need to face the problems while the financial institutions are still open and come up with solutions early enough to avoid a closure scenario,” the CEO said in a recent interview.

He said once a Sacco is closed, the chances for its rehabilitation become very minimal.

Mr. Achieng told Sacco managers to taken proactive steps to improve the condition of their institutions, many of which he said find it difficult to cope with changing regulations and heightened competition.

The CEO also urged Saccos to invest their savings in order to grow their profits, adding that depending on the small interest accrued from loans given to members is not sustainable.

He cautioned Sacco members against the tendency to borrow for consumption to avoid being perpetual borrowers.

Achieng said time had come for the members to start borrowing for investment in order to maximize benefits from their membership with the institution.

“Let us invest every coin we borrow from our Saccos. That’s the only way we can come out of financial problems,” he said.

Five years after joining Jamii Savings and Cooperative Society, Mr. Achieng, a Certified Public Accountant, has been named the CEO.

 Achieng takes over from long-time Sacco veteran Mr. Eliud Chepkwony, who retired recently after spending more than three decades with the Sacco.

The new CEO is no stranger to Jamii Sacco as he has been with the institution for five years, most recently as the head of finance.

Achieng joined Jamii in 2017 from Airport Sacco, where he served as head of internal audit.

During his tenure there, he drove a culture of quality outcomes, employee engagement and operational efficiency, and demonstrated a passion for innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion.

“It has been an honour to be a part of the growing Jamii Sacco team the past several months, and I’m eager to work more closely with our members and workforce to advance our mission of growing members’ wealth,” said Achieng.

Since inception in 1972, Jamii Sacco’s success formula has always been based on the transformative nature of financial intelligence.

Making tasks easier, improving efficiency and increasing productivity has been the Sacco’s calling card that has appealed to members.

Putting all of this in context, Aching’s appointment to CEO is more about strategic continuity and consistency.

As the pandemic ebbs in 2022, capable, humble leadership will be a powerful asset for the company that is likely to keep Jamii Savings and Cooperative Society moving forward as one of the leading Saccos in Kenya.

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