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SACCOs to join in Kenya

We are some days into the second quarter of 2021, and I have one question, how is your saving journey going so far? 

 

It is still a rough year, but if you can get a few coins to spare, I still recommend putting them in a high-yield account. With time, your small coins will grow, enabling you to borrow or use them to buy assets. As the Swahili saying goes, “Haba na Haba hujaza kibaba”.

 

A SACCO is one of the best options to put your savings. Apart from saving, SACCOs are an excellent credit avenue, with most allowing you to borrow up to three or four times your savings. 

 

The big question, though, and one I have seen many people asking on social media pages, is what can one SACCO join? The truth is there are hundreds of SACCOs at your disposal. Some are good, others are well, a ticking time bomb and one move away from sending members into a wild goose chase with the SACCOs management for their savings.

What To Consider Before Joining a SACCO 

While you do not have a 100% guarantee that the financial institution you’re saving or investing with is legit, you can take measures to reduce the chances of losing your hard-earned money. Just as you do your due diligence when joining any bank or investing in any venture, do the same when looking for a SACCO to join. 

 

  1. First, ensure the SACCO is registered with SASRA, which is the regulatory body. 
  2. SACCOs age- how old is the SACCO? Of course, it does not guarantee maximum protection of your savings, but a long-running SACCO might be more stable than one founded a few years or months ago. 
  3. The SACCOs asset base – you are better off investing in a SACCO with a significant asset base. In the event of liquidation, the sale of assets can provide a cash base for refunds. 
  4. Minimum share capital – some SACCOS require Kshs. 10,000 for the minimum share capital, while some have higher amounts, up to Kshs. 25,000. There are a few more SACCOs that require less than Kshs. 10,000. Depending on other options, which option you go for, keep in mind that the share capital is non-refundable. If you were to leave the SACCO, you could only get back your minimum share capital if you transferred that money to another member and paid you.
  5. Minimum contribution – besides the minimum share capital, which some SACCOs allow you to spread over a couple of months, you also need to consider the minimum amount you need to contribute per month and what happens if you do not manage to contribute often.  
  6. Available products – things like saving, loans, and investment options. 
  7. Dividend rates – the SACCOs historic rates could be an excellent indication of how it has performed over the years. However, note that there is no guarantee that you will receive the same dividend rate the following year; it all depends on the previous year’s performance. Keep in mind that there will be two rates for the share capital and member deposits, where the share capital’s dividend rate tends to be higher. 
  8. Interest rate and other repayment terms – how much interest does the SACCO offer for its credit lines? Consider the allowable repayment period for the available loans and the type of interest rate (fixed or variable). 
  9. Guarantors – what are the guarantor requirements? I can only advise you to join a SACCO where you know at least 3 people. This way, you can all guarantee each other when you take loans. Some SACCOs are changing the rules where you can use two guarantors plus your savings. 
  10. Accessibility – not just the physical offices, but also an online presence with a reliable website, member portal, mobile banking, and even an app.

Read more in a related post: The Good and the Bad of Joining a SACCO

SACCOs To Consider Joining In Kenya 

1. Tembo SACCO

Registered in 1972, the SACCO started by serving members of EABL but has since evolved to open membership for everyone. Its offices are in Garden Estate Rd, but you do not have to be in Nairobi to save with them. 

 

I was referred by a friend (Hey, Njagi), and what caught my attention was the high dividend pay for share capital. In 2018, 2019 & 2020, the SACCO paid a high dividend rate of 20%. The minimum share capital is a bit high at Ksh. 20,000 (1000 shares at Ksh. 20 each). You will also have to pay a non-refundable registration fee of Ksh. 1,000. 

 

Tembo has paid an interest rate of 11.5% for the member deposits over the years, with a minimum monthly contribution of Ksh. 1,000. Member deposits are refundable, but you have to give a written notice to leave the SACCO. Other BOSA products include BOSA Special Savings Accounts and Benevolent Fund, an insurance policy to save for your demise or family member.

 

You can use several FOSA products to build your emergency kitty or save for your young ones. The FOSA Savings Account – recommended for your emergency fund, with a minimum monthly contribution of Ksh. 1000 and annual interest rate of Ksh. 4%. If you are looking for a way to save for your kids, you can use the Tembo Junior Savings. It pays an annual interest of 8% with a minimum contribution of Ksh. 500. 

 

There are many credit lines available on borrowings, from Jumbo Plus & Jumbo Loans that allow you to borrow 4-times your savings to a Normal Loan where you borrow 3-times your savings. So, if you have about Ksh. 100,000 savings in your Member/ Sacco Deposits account. You can borrow up to Ksh. 400,000 or Ksh. 300,000 with the Jumbo and Normal credit lines. 

 

Tembo has a mobile banking service you can use to deposit, withdraw, credit request, pay loans, and other utilities. There is also an online portal you can use to access your statement. 

 

Pros

 

  • High dividend rates for share capital savings & member deposits 
  • Can transfer money to banks using RTGS and EFT 
  • Several savings options for long term and long term saving goals 
  • Several credit lines for different projects 
  • Mobile banking, mobile app and an online platform

 

Cons 

  1. High minimum share capital 
  2. High-interest rate for some of the short term credit lines, with some going as high as 6% and 12% per month
  3. Mobile app not available on iOS

2. Nation Sacco 

It was registered in 1975 and has grown over the decades to accumulate an asset base of over Ksh. 2,000M (from the AGM Report). Its offices are along Moi Avenue. 

 

Its entrance fee is Ksh. 1000. The minimum share capital is high, at Ksh 25,000, and a maximum shareholding of 1,000 shares. That’s a minimum of 250 shares and a maximum of Ksh. 100,000 at Ksh. 100 per share. From the available documents online, the SACCO paid a dividend of 20% on share capital contributions for the years 2019 and 2020.

 

For the member deposits, the minimum monthly contribution is Ksh. 2000 with a 60 day notice period to withdraw your savings. You can borrow up to 3-times your member deposits. The interest payment for member deposits was 9% for the years 2019 and 2020.

 

To qualify for any loans, you need to save with the SACCO for at least 6 months and accumulate deposits of about Ksh. 12,000. However, you can access advances after a month of joining the SACCO. But, if you transfer your deposits from another SACCO to them, you are treated as a continuing member. 

 

The minimum operating amount for FOSA accounts is Ksh. 500. You can use this for your emergency savings, salary payments and advances, and other credit payments. If you are looking to fix money for a particular saving goal without using the non-withdrawable member deposits account, you can use the fixed deposit account. In fact, the money you save in this account can be your collateral against FOSA borrowings. Other saving products include accounts for juniors and Chamas and a Benevolent Fund.  

 

On borrowings, you can get credit from long-term to medium and short-term financing. Depending on the type of credit you want, you can expect to pay interest ranging from 12% to 15% per annum with a repayment period of up to 72 months. 

 

There is also a mobile banking service where you can make deposits, withdraw funds, borrow & make repayments and even pay your utilities. 

 

Pros 

  • Can transfer deposits from another SACCO
  • You can self-guarantee (only if you have not tied your savings in other commitments)
  • Several savings options for long term and long term saving goals 
  • Several credit lines for different projects
  • Reasonable interest rates for loans 
  • Mobile banking 

Cons

  • High share capital 
  • Does not have an online portal
  • No available mobile app 

Related post 5 Important Things To Consider Before Taking A Loan

3. Stima SACCO

Stima SACCO is one of the most common and recommended SACCOs in Kenya. It was founded in 1974 and has open membership for any Kenya of legal age. The SACCO has grown over the years. Unlike some of the SACCOs with a presence in major towns and cities, Stima SACCO has offices in several other locations, like Kisumu, Eldoret, Embu, Mombasa, and Naivasha. 

 

The joining fee is Ksh. 500. The minimum share capital and member deposit (Alpha Deposit) is Ksh. 25,000 each, plus a minimum monthly contribution of Ksh. 1,000 for member deposits. For the year 2020, the SACCO paid a dividend rebate of 14% on share capital and 10.75% on member deposits. Others include the Prime Account, which operates like a bank’s current account, so it is basically a FOSA account. If you have over Ksh. 15,000 in this account, it will earn you an interest of 2%.  

 

What I like about Stima SACCOs products is the Msingi Bora Account, a savings product for your kids. It has a term limit of 5 to 18 years, a minimum contribution of Ksh. 500 with an interest payment of 5% pa. After 3 years, you can borrow to pay fees, up to 75% of the fee amount, and use this account’s savings as a guarantee. 

 

There are several credit lines. The interest rates vary from 5% to 18.5%, depending on the product. Other products have an extended repayment period, some up to 72 months. 

 

Pros 

  • Online portal to access your account
  • Mobile banking 
  • High presence outside Nairobi
  • Several savings options for long term and long term saving goals 
  • Several credit lines for different projects

 

Cons

  • High minimum share capital and member deposits 
  • High-interest rates for some loan products, as high as 18.5% for some of the loan products
  • The mobile app is not reliable 
  • The customer care could use some improvement

4. Jamii SACCO 

It was registered in 1972 as a savings vehicle for civil servants but has grown to open membership. The offices are in South B, close to Mater Hospital. 

 

The entrance fee is Ksh. 1,000 and a monthly contribution of Ksh 2,200, where Ksh. 200 goes to your Benevolent Fund. The minimum share capital is Ksh. 10,000 with an initial deposit of Ksh. 1,000 when joining. You can spread the rest of the contributions over the next 18 months with a Ksh. 500 monthly contribution. 

 

You can borrow against your member deposits up to 3, 4, and 5-times, depending on the type of credit line you need. While some credits are only available if you have been saving with the SACCO for 3 or 6 months, you can transfer your deposits from another SACCO and access credits immediately. The transfer treats you like an existing member of the SACCO. 

 

The SACCO has just announced a dividend and interest payout of 12% and 10% for share capital and member deposits for the year 2020

 

The different FOSA products allow you to save for various short-term goals, like emergencies, school fees, or holidays. You can also access other credit lines such as emergency loans, loans for school fees, Chama loans, and financing for different projects and developments. 

 

Pros 

  • Lower minimum share capital requirement 
  • Can spread share capital contributions over 18 months 
  • Longer repayment periods up to 84 and 120 months for some loans 
  • Can borrow up to 4 or 5-times your savings on some loan products
  • Mobile banking, mobile app and an online platform 
  • Grace period on mortgages 
  • Has a non-interest attracting credit line for Muslims 
  • Jamii Housing for buying properties 

 

Cons

  • Some of the loans are only available to salaried members 
  • Customer care service is wanting (and I am speaking from experience) 
  • Mobile app services on Android is not reliable 
  • The mobile app is not available for iOS
  • Dividends are mostly paid in April (which can be a good thing if you are only looking to reinvest your interest & dividend rebates)

Honourable Mentions

Apart from these, you can also consider:

  1. Maisha Bora SACCO – the year 2020 dividends on share capital paid at 15% and interest on member deposits at 9.5%
  2. Safaricom SACCO – the year 2020 dividends on share capital paid at 12% and interest on member deposits at 7.5%
  3. Hazina SACCO – the year 2020 dividends on share capital paid at 20% and interest on member deposits at 10.3%

 

These are just a few SACCOs to keep in mind. There are others you can join but do your due diligence, even on the ones suggested here. Some companies have workplace SACCOs, but I would advise against those. If your employer closes shop, there is a high likelihood of the SACCO not surviving unless it has an open membership policy. You do not have to go far to search for examples; Gurudumu and Nitunze SACCOs, where employees of Sameer Africa and Mumias Sugar channelled their savings, are great examples.

DISCLOSURE: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO MY READERS IS GENUINE AND PRECISE TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE. THE LINKS PROVIDED IN THIS ARTICLE DO NOT BELONG TO ANY AFFILIATE PARTNERS AND I AM NOT PAID FOR THEM. THE ARTICLE OFFERS GENERAL INFORMATION AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OR HELP THAT CATERS TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL GOALS. KINDLY SEEK HELP AND ADVICE FROM YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR FOR PERSONALISED ADVICE AND HELP. ANY ACTION TAKEN BASED ON THIS INFORMATION IS AT YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY AND RISK. 

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