Times U Sacco: Your Timely Financier

Times U Sacco: Your Timely Financier
Catherine Mwamba, Chief Executive Officer, Times U Sacco.

The Sacco has positioned itself as a one stop shop for its members where all their financial needs are met

When Times U Sacco Society Limited was founded back in 1993, its’ key mandate was to give members an avenue to mobilize their deposits and an opportunity to access financial services. Formerly it was known as Uruku Rural Sacco Society and was registered as a rural based Sacco, with an initial membership of 200 and one member of staff.

 “It was registered as a community based Sacco with no common bond,” says Catherine Mwamba, the Chief Executive Officer. This means individuals from all sectors of the economy including salaried employees, the business community, and farmers among others could become members at will.

Times U Sacco started by providing Back Office Service Activity (BOSA) where members are required to have shares after which they are granted a loan multiple of their deposits.

The Sacco later launched Front Office Service Activities (FOSA) in 2004, which allowed members to open accounts and operate them. It was regulated by Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) in 2012 as a deposit taking Sacco and since then it has been operating as a compliant legal cooperative entity.

Headquartered in Nkubu Town, Meru County, Times U Sacco has six fully fledged branches and two satellite offices. It also has over 40 agents spread across the County.

Why Times U?

Since inception, the Sacco has positioned itself as a one stop shop for its members where all their financial needs are met without having to refer them to any other provider.

“We live by our brand promise of being a timely financier, and this is what differentiates us from other financial institutions,” Observes Catherine.

The Sacco operates a seamless service provision. “We believe that at Times U Sacco, members should join at will, declare their financial needs, and we make sure that we do not keep them long waiting for such needs to be met.”

Products Offering

Times U 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 the common traditional loan products such as group, business, agriculture and development, to savings products and investments among others. As a regulated deposit taking Sacco, members get loans in multiples of what they have saved.

“We have however evolved over time to being completely specific on the type of loans we offer,” says the CEO. For instance, for development projects, the Sacco is financing land purchase and construction, smart farming, dairy farming and micro-horticulture.

According to Catherine, Times U Sacco is encouraging the youth to engage in agriculture through smart farming. This includes financing them to construct green houses, drip irrigation and borehole drilling. The move away from traditional farming methods not only attracts more young people, but also increases income and food production.

Furthermore, the Sacco has introduced eco green products, which help in improving health and lifestyle. In partnership with service providers, it is providing improved jikos to members at subsidized rates.

“We also finance groups which are doing common activities. For instance, we finance groups to do water projects as a way of improving livelihoods,” says Catherine. Groups are also encouraged to do table banking, which is one way of adding to their liquidity.

By and large, the Sacco offers customer friendly products that are packaged from customer enquiries and fit their needs. 

Embracing Technology

“Times U Sacco has evolved from brick and mortar to saying that each of our member is a walking branch where they can access our services 24/7,” says Catherine.

The Sacco has a banking app and a USSD code *822# through which members can access all services using their mobile devices. “Our members can now withdraw, deposit, access and repay loans, shares transfer, pay utilities and check their account balance among other transactions using their mobile phones from the comfort of their homes.”

The CEO points out that although technology comes with its challenges, the Sacco is taking all security measures to ensure its members transact safely.

Financial Literacy

For any financial institution, conducting member education and training should be a prerequisite. “In most enterprises, especially micro and small businesses, the major challenge encountered by members is financial literacy,” observes Catherine. How to manage their books? How to differentiate between capital and profits? How to differentiate their daily needs and business expenditure?

In this regard, Times U Sacco has taken to its sleeves to do member training. It has also trained its frontline staff to be good financial advisors.

The training focuses on simple budgeting, record keeping, accounting, managing cash flows, and knowing whether their business is progressing or retrogressing. Catherine notes that for lack of knowhow, some members use capital to repay their loans. It is therefore important to help members differentiate between capital and income to prevent difficulties during loan appraisals.

The Sacco also trains members on the essential things they need in life. “It does not make any economic sense if a member depends on National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as the only health insurance,” observes Catherine. She continues to say that in the unfortunate event of a major sickness, they end up utilizing their capital. Therefore, having a backup cover, be it medical, personal accident, and any other form of insurance cover prevents loss in times of adversity.

Times U Sacco members during their Annual General Meeting.

Insurance Agency

To this end, the Sacco registered an insurance agency in November 2022. Through the agency, it offers insurance services ranging from motor, medical, personal accident and fire and burglary to its members. It has partnered with various insurance companies to achieve this.

Currently, the insurance agency has a medical product called micro insurance. With as low as Ksh 7,500, members can access inpatient cover and outpatient cover of up to Kshs. 30,000 per annum. With Kshs 9,750, the scope of the cover increases.

“We also have a Boda insurance cover for our bodaboda members. They pay Kshs. 1 per day which covers against personal accidents,” says Catherine. The need to launch this product was inspired by the many accidents caused by bodaboda riders.

Many people also do dairy farming as a source of income. The agency has a livestock cover to meet this need. In the unfortunate event that a member loses his/her cow, he/she will be compensated and restored back.

In this regard, Catherine encourages members to patronize and embrace insurance as part and parcel of their lifestyle.

Major Strides

Over the years, Times U Sacco has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the leading Sacco’s in Meru region. It prides itself in the growth of its members to over 30,000. More notably, the Sacco has grown its asset base to over one billion Kenyan shillings.

Times U Sacco has also grown from a one roomed office during inception, to having its own building, which also serves as the headquarters. This according to the CEO provides a humble working area and a good ambience to members.

Furthermore, Times U has been recognized and awarded nationally in technology, credit management, ICT optimization and in being the most improved Sacco. In this year’s Ushirika Day celebrations, the Sacco received five national awards.

Transforming Lives

Catherine says what gives her most satisfaction is seeing the Sacco transform the lives of its members. “We are giving our members an opportunity to grow exponentially without any limits, and I pride in seeing them progress from one stage to the other.”

When the Sacco started, majority of the members used to think locally. They mostly operated their businesses in the village shopping centres. However, thanks to Times U Sacco, many have moved their businesses to towns. They have also changed their status from ordinary shopkeepers to businessmen. Additionally, some members have grown from being tenants to homeowners and from casual laborers to employers.

Bottom line, the Sacco has changed the living standards of its members, their income status and their perspective of doing business.

Managing Risk

Risk management is vital especially in the financial industry. There are various forms of risks, for instance credit risk. This involves loan repayment in the event a member passes on. Times U Sacco ensures that all loans are insured in order to mitigate this risk. 

Moreover, the Sacco has moved away from the traditional form of guarantorship whereby members are required to guarantee each other to secure a loan. Members are required to provide security while applying for loans.

In the most risky areas, the Sacco does continuous monitoring and evaluation and comes up with mitigation strategies. Although some risks are unavoidable, Catherine observes it is necessary to put necessary measures in place.


Like any other business, Times U Sacco has faced a number of challenges. To start with is competition within the region. “In Nkubu town, there are over 15 financial institutions.” The Sacco leverages on its competitive advantage of being a timely financier to overcome this challenge.

Owing to the many financial institutions, many members are multiply banked. The CEO notes that when members divide their attention, they tend to make mistakes. They face liquidity challenges and sometimes, they are unable to repay their loans on time.

Climate change is also a major issue. Some of the branches are located in semi-arid areas, meaning that members are affected adversely anytime the weather changes to extreme. In turn, this affects the consumption of loans, loan repayment and disposable income.

Going Forward

“We are currently implementing our 5-year strategic plan and are looking forward to grow our asset base to Kshs 4 billion in the next three to four years,” says Catherine.

The Sacco also hopes to open new branches across the country with membership spread across all sectors.

Besides, Times U is looking forward to building a more efficient organization and strive to empower its members financially. “We believe that members should come out better and more financially empowered than they were before.”

A Word from the CEO

At Times U Sacco, we pride ourselves in having our head office in Meru County. We appreciate the leadership of the county for giving us an opportunity to have a conducive working environment. It is our prayer that the partnership and collaboration we have will propel the Sacco to greater heights.

It is our hope that anybody within the country and engaged in a legal income generating activity and has financial needs to be met should not hesitate to join Times U Sacco.

We are ready for you; we are waiting for you because we need to meet at the point of your need. And at Times U Sacco, we live by our brand promise of being a timely financier.

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