Union implores Saccos to protect members’ data

By Malachi Motano

The Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Kuscco) group has urged saving and credit cooperative societies (Saccos) to safeguard their members’ data in line with the Data Protection Act, 2019.

“The Saccos managements should practice data protection by design, by ensuring necessary systems, documents, procedures and policies are in place,” said Kuscco Group Managing Director George Ototo.

He was speaking during the groups 33rd Annual Delegates Meeting where he reported that when dealing with sensitive personal data, the law requires one to take extra measures to protect it.

“This has big implications for Saccos since they control detailed information about members including biometric data, property details, marital status, and health status among other parameters mentioned in the Act. Thus the threshold for protecting personal data for Saccos is high,” he said.  

He further urged leaders to take an in depth look at the Act and adhere to it, to avoid hefty fines and loss of members money. He also implored leaders to ensure that staff is sensitized on the same.

“The digital wave that has swept across the country’s co-operative sector, addressing members’ needs more efficiently and conveniently is exposing the gaping vulnerability in the sector, as the cases of fraud and money laundering have become ever so rampant. In light of this, we advise Deposit Taking Saccos to adopt strong measures to protect member funds,” he said.

He adds, “While Sacco Societies Fraud Investigation Unit (SSFIU) is already operational, initiated to curb the cases of fraud and corruption in co-operatives, Sacco managers must fight harder to eliminate the vice.

According to the MD, to compete effectively, Saccos need to use data to understand their customers on a personal level so that they can develop digital products that meet their needs.

“If Saccos continue to maintain data in traditional data warehouses, they cannot be able to solve emerging problems, because the structured data model lacks flexibility to adapt new business challenges. Co-operatives need to make informed decisions to help meet the emerging needs of their membership,” he said.

Experts say that data analytics can also help identify hidden opportunities, accelerate member engagement, prioritize offers, influence digital adoption and identify at-risk members.

In a previous global survey by Global Data & Analytics (KPMG), 40,000 certified fraud examiners revealed that proactive data monitoring and analysis is an invaluable addition to an organisation to limit potential financial and reputational losses from fraud.

“Analysing data uncovers hidden patterns and insights which enhances understanding of customers and the products they need. Some Saccos utilize data lakes, which are vast pools of raw unstructured data, which complements a data warehouse,” KPMG Survey says.

This allows the Sacco to use their data to identify and solve any business problem, because they are flexible and extendable. Data analytics enhances the ability to identify trends, forecast outcomes and prescribe solutions.

The most fundamental function of data analytics is to aggregate and distribute data so that Saccos can get a clearer perspective of the members they are serving, their needs and expectations; so that they can formulate a roadmap or blueprint on how to meet this needs to elicit customer satisfaction thereby, standing a big chance in retaining them.

Big data analysis and video analytics, allow co-operatives to investigate threats in a more intelligent manner and generate actionable intelligence from collected data points to achieve their strategic intelligence and business objectives.

Societies should therefore adopt a sophisticated approach to data analytics and governance, by adopting a data strategy that answers basic business questions by first defining their objective.

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