Tai Sacco Strives to Transform Members’ Lives

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John Mwangi, chief executive officer,Tai Sacco

The Sacco has made major strides since inception, and is continuously revamping its product offering to meet customers’ needs

Twenty six years ago, a group of like-minded brains came together and started a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society to address the plight of tea farmers in Kiambu County. Driven by their visionary determination, they registered the then Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited. At that time, banking services were out of reach for the low class income earners due to the high account maintenance commission and minimum account balance.

“By then, the Sacco had only 50 members who had contributed a share capital of Ksh. 102, 000,” says John Mwangi, the chief executive officer. It started by providing Back Office Service Activity (BOSA), where members were required to save for six months after which they were granted a loan.

In 1999, the Sacco launched Front Office Service Activities (FOSA), which allowed members to open accounts and operate them.

The Sacco computerized its activities and operations in 2004 by acquiring ASMAS, advanced Sacco management software, which allowed it to move from manual operations to computerised system.

Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited was rebranded to Tai Sacco Society Limited in 2009. It was the same year in which the common bond was opened.  “It allowed the Sacco to expand to other counties outside Kiambu, besides attracting members from other sectors including civil servants, business community, transport industry, coffee and horticultural farmers among others.”

Tai is the Kiswahili word for eagle. An eagle is known for its conspicuous characters and values. The Sacco realized that its behaviour and character are like those of an eagle.

Headquartered in Githunguri town, Kiambu County, Tai has eight fully fledged branches including Githurai, Gatundu, Kamwangi, Thika, Kagwi, Kigumo, Ruiru.

Growth

Since inception, Tai has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the leading Saccos in the country. It prides itself in the growth of its members, staff and geographical coverage. “We have witnessed tremendous membership growth, from 50 in 1992 to more than 50,000 members today,” observes Mwangi. Tai has a staff base of about 105, who are professionally qualified in different areas relating to Sacco operations.

It is worth mentioning that Tai was the third Sacco in Kenya to be regulated by Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) as a deposit taking Sacco and since then it has been operating as a compliant legal cooperative entity.

Furthermore, the Sacco has experienced rapid growth and thus created more departments to make operations much more efficient and effective. “In 2016 we restructured our human resources and introduced departments that were not there before including operations and customer care, human resources and a substantive head of credit,” reveals the CEO.

Tai is also at speed with the current technology. It for instance changed its management information system by acquiring new ERP software. The acquisition process started in 2016 and it was operationalized in March 2017.  The Sacco also utilizes mobile banking services that allow members to deposit and withdraw cash, buy airtime and borrow up to Ksh. 10,000.

The Sacco also understands the need for credit information sharing. “We have partnered with Metropol Credit Reference Bureau to share information of our prospective customers to control the default rate,” offers Mwangi.

“We are currently implementing our 5-year strategic plan that was developed in 2014 and is set to end in 2019.”

Product Offering

Tai Sacco has positioned itself as a customer centric and market led financial services institution. It offers a range of innovative products and services to its customers in the most efficient way and according to their needs. They range from loan products such as salary, chama, business, agriculture and miradi, to savings products, investments, safe custody of documents and asset financing among others.

It recently introduced new products to the market. To start with is biogas that allows members to utilize green energy using readily available resources. It also partnered with CIC Insurance to offer Sacco assurance. “It is a portfolio of insurance products that allows our members to insure their vehicles, livestock and other property,” says Mwangi.  It also covers medical, education and life.

Furthermore, Tai has partnered with the government as an intermediary of women/youth enterprise fund and Inua Jamii, a cash transfer programme for the old.

Strategic Partnerships

The Sacco has created strategic partnerships to serve its customers better. To start with, it has partnered with Tangazo Letu through Spotcash, to provide mobile banking services. “Our members can now withdraw, deposit, check their account balance among other transactions from their account using their mobile phones.” The service is accessed by dialling *645#

It has also partnered with the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to issue visa branded ATM cards to its members, allowing customers to withdraw money from all visa branded ATMs in Kenya and beyond. Clients are also issued with cheque books as a result of the Sacco’s partnership with the Bank.

Additionally, members can deposit or withdraw cash via Mpesa, thanks to the Sacco’s partnership with Safaricom.

“We also offer services for international money transfers through a partnership with Moneygram.”

Governance 

Tai employs the annual delegates meetings (ADMs). It has a Board of Directors comprised of nine members that meets regularly to deliberate on essential Sacco issues. The Sacco has established several committees that assist the Board in providing leadership and good corporate governance. The committees include finance and administration, audit, credit, and strategy, business development and education. Besides, it has a supervisory committee that is responsible for oversight.

“We invest heavily in education and training. Every year, we have a training calendar for the members, delegates, staff and directors. This is why they are able to actively participate in ADM and make significant contributions,” says Mwangi.

The ADM is held once every year during which the Board presents its budget for the following financial year. This year’s ADM will be held on 29th March.

Achievements

The Sacco participates in national competitions, which act as benchmarking platforms. It has previously participated in FIRE Awards organized by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), Champions of Governance (COG) Awards organized by the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK), Company of the Year Awards (COYA), and National Council for Ushirika day celebrations and won accolades. In 2017, it was feted as the best in financial management Sacco by COYA.
“We also give back to the community by taking part in corporate social responsibility activities,” observes Mwangi.  They include environmental conservation, providing internship opportunities, planting seedlings in partnership with coffee societies, and financing the County Government to create awareness to the young people regarding illicit brew and rehabilitation of those affected.

Going forward, Tai hopes to open a new branch in Kimende and adopt agency banking to enable its members to access and enjoy banking services conveniently at their door step.

A Word From the CEO

Tai Sacco strives to transform Members’ lives. Since inception in 1992, we have experienced tremendous membership growth, from 50 members in 1992 to more than 50,000 members today with a staff base of 105.

We are regulated by Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) as a deposit taking Sacco and therefore operating as a compliant legal Cooperative entity.

We are governed by Board of Directors who meets regularly to deliberate on essential Sacco issues. The Sacco has established several committees that assist the Board in providing leadership, and good corporate governance. We have held an Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM) once every year.

In CRS activities, we have not been left out.  We have worked closely with the County Government of Kiambu to create awareness to the young people regarding illicit brew and rehabilitation of those affected.

By choosing to bank with Tai Sacco, you are choosing a winning team that has developed products and services to suite members’ diverse needs.

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