By Jackson Okoth
Ol-Kalou-based Tower Sacco in Nyandarua County is set to open new branches in Nairobi and Narok counties, as more rural-based Saccos eye new opportunities and businesses in major urban centres.
Most of these Societies are targeting women, the youth and those engaged in small and medium sized enterprises. Those who are engaged in the informal sector in urban areas have also become a new recruitment frontier for these societies
“We are encouraged by how business and membership numbers are picking up in our new branch in Nakuru. Already, members have given us the go ahead to explore the possibility of setting up another branch in Nairobi and Narok. We are already doing feasibility studies to determine suitability of these new markets,” said John Gitundu, Chairman of Tower Sacco Society Limited.
He said that while competition for the few salaried workers is still vibrant, Tower Sacco has set its sights on those engaged in personal business, the youth, women and those engaged in the informal sector.
“Going into new markets is a challenging affair and this is why we are proceeding slowly as we study new markets. So far, all our new branches are doing well,” said Gitundu.
Tower Sacco’s branch in Nakuru is located at Tropical House next to Kitchen Planet, behind Gilanis Supermarket. The branch brings the Society’s branch network to ten and counting, besides having satellite offices. It intends to open four more in Mai-Mahiu, Boiman, Rumuruti and Magumu.
In its 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, Tower Sacco plans to drive its growth and achieve intended results within the shortest time possible.
“We are slowly changing the mindset of members and the communities around us to switch from social development to invest in economic activities that can bring them returns,” said Gitundu.
Previously known as South Imenti Tea Growers Sacco Society Limited, Yetu Society is also one of the tea Saccos that has a presence in Nairobi and areas surrounding it. The Society has a branch in Nairobi, along Latema road on the ground floor of Magomano Building.
Yetu Sacco plans to set up more offices in Nairobi as per the strategic plan.
“We are currently seeking for premises in places such as Tea Room, Mlolongo, Githurai as well as other locations around Nairobi and its environs. The Society is targeting the high cash flow in Nairobi, especially around Tea Room and plans to recruit over 6000 new members,” said John Mwiti Rukaria, the Sacco Chief Executive officer.
Mwiti disclosed plans by the Society to acquire a commercial banking license so as to provide more services to members.
The recent opening of a new branch by Bingwa Sacco in Kitengela, Kajiado County, is the latest move by mostly rural –based Saccos to expand their networks to Nairobi city and its environs.
The Sacco’s 19th branch targets to expand services to Kajiado County and surrounding regions. The branch will be offering savings and loan products, insurance, auxiliary banking, investment and deposit services, Diaspora banking, ATM, Mobile and SME Banking, among other services.
“The market for Saccos in Kerugoya town is highly competitive with more than 13 Saccos competing for business. There are over 19 Saccos in Kerugoya town alone. This is why we have to seek for business beyond the county,” said Jane Mugoh, CEO Bingwa Sacco Society Limited.
Bingwa Sacco is credited as being the first rural-based Sacco to set up a branch in Nairobi, way back in 2005. The Sacco has two branches in Nairobi located at Githurai and Accra road within Nairobi’s Central Business District.