Even as most financial institutions in the country opt to leverage technology in their service delivery, tier one Sacco launches more branches in line with its current strategic plan
By George Gichuki
Stima DT Sacco, has embarked on a major drive to expand its branch network in Kenya. This is in line with the tier one Sacco’s 2019-2024 strategic plan. As one of the leading deposit taking Saccos in the country (with an asset base of Kshs. 54 billion as at December 2022), it has recently launched two branches – Electricity House in Nairobi’s central business district and Meru. This is in addition to its other branches including: Nairobi head office, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nairobi CBD – Kimathi House, Olkaria, Embu, Kawi Complex, Meru and Kisii. “As a fast growing Sacco, it is imperative to continue seeking visibility and brand presence throughout the country,” said Eng. Albert Mugo, the National Chairman, during the launch of Stima Sacco’s Electricity House branch. “We have therefore embarked on an expansion drive to bring quality products and services to all Kenyans,” he added. From a humble beginning in 1974 when it was established to serve employees of the then East African Power and Lighting Company, Stima DT Sacco has grown phenomenally drawing membership from all sectors of the economy. The pioneer members were only five, but currently, this number has grown to over 177,260.
Accessibility, convenience and satisfaction
According to Dr. Gamaliel Hassan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Stima’s branch expansion strategy is anchored on three key pillars: accessibility, convenience and member satisfaction. “At the heart of our branch expansion strategy lies a commitment to bring our services closer to our valued members,” said Dr. Hassan during the launch of the Electricity House branch. “We recognize the importance of accessibility and convenience in meeting the evolving needs of our members in today’s fast-paced world,” he added while emphasizing that the new branch exemplifies the Sacco’s dedication to bridging the gap and ensuring that its financial services are readily available to all.
Convenience is also another important consideration of the branch expansion strategy given that the fast paced nature of the world today demands flexibility and efficiency. “Our new branch is strategically located to offer convenience to our members, allowing them to access our services without having to travel long distances or endure lengthy commutes,” Dr. Hassan further said. “ It represents our dedication to making banking more convenient, hassle-free and tailored to the diverse lifestyles of our members,” he added.
The expansion strategy according to Dr. Hassan also reflects Stima DT Sacco’s enduring commitment towards enhancing member satisfaction. “We continue to listen attentively to the feedback and aspirations of our members and tailor our products and services in response to those needs,” he further noted.
Decentralization and financial well being
Decentralization is a strategy that is often used by forward looking organizations to bring more customers on board. By and large, it has deepened the financial sector in Kenya through reaching the under banked and unbanked. Decentralization has informed Stima DT Sacco’s decision to expand its branch network. “The opening of this office forms part of the decentralization policy implemented by the Sacco in its efforts to come closer to our members,” said Dr. Hassan further during the launch of the Electricity House branch. “The Sacco has made this strategic choice to enhance the effectiveness and impact of our operations in the various corners of this country,” he added.
It is also important to note that the establishment of new branches by Stima DT Sacco is aimed at enhancing the financial well-being of its members. Dr. Hassan drove that point home in his address at the Meru branch launch. “The establishment of the Meru branch is not just about brick and mortar; it signifies our dedication to fulfilling our mission of improving the financial well-being of our members,” he said. “By opening this branch, we are ensuring that our members in Meru and its environs have easy access to our range of products and services, allowing them to manage their finances effectively and achieve their financial goals,” he added.
At 81%, a high population in Meru county have access to financial products and services according to a recent report by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). However, many of them are not financially literate. “51.6% of the county’s banked population still rely on family and friends for advice, while only 42.8% have any knowledge of the cost of borrowing,” Dr. Hassan further said. In such an unfortunate scenario, innocent and gullible customers with low levels of financial literacy are bound to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous financial institutions. Stima DTM Sacco is an exception. “Our comprehensive portfolio of financial solutions, tailored specifically for our members, will enable you to save, invest and access affordable credit facilities that meet your unique needs,” Dr. Hassan assured Meru residents.
Currently, many organization globally are leveraging digitalization in their product and service offerings. It is an efficient business model that has enabled them to cut down on costs heavily. As one of the top Saccos in Kenya, Stima DT Sacco has also embraced technology. To that end, it has developed a flagship mobile banking product dubbed, M-Stima through which its members are able to perform various transactions (for instance withdrawing and depositing cash) via their mobile phones. “Stima DT Sacco is committed to harnessing the power of technology to deliver innovative and convenient solutions,” said Dr. Hassan while launching the Meru branch. “We are constantly investing in digital platforms, mobile banking applications and other technology driven initiatives to enhance the accessibility and efficiency of our services,” he added. Nevertheless, brick and mortar still remains an important delivery channel for the tier one Sacco as it seeks to achieve its expansion goal. “You may of course use our online services to save you from going across the country to one of our branches,” noted the Chairman, Eng. Mugo, during the launch of the Electricity House branch.” Nonetheless, there are times when the need for interpersonal interaction far outweighs that of convenience and those are the times you may want to visit our branch,” he added.
As Stima DT Sacco continues implementing this critical chapter of its strategic plan- branch expansion- which is a testament of its vision, ambition and dedication to excellence, there is no doubt that it will win the hearts of many members. Going by the words of Dr. Hassan: “ It propels us towards our goal of becoming a leading financial partner in the region.” Given its audacious strategic plans, that goal will soon become a reality.