KENOL TOWN COMES TO LIFE AS MENTOR SACCO ORGANIZES AN EDUCATION DAY FOR ITS MEMBERS

Attentive Mentor Sacco members listening to the speakers during the Information day at the D.C.C. Hall in Kenol town.
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Eager to acquire new knowledge, members turn up in hundreds for an important annual   event in tier one Sacco’s annual calendar

By George Gichuki

Kenol is one of the fastest growing towns in the Central region of Kenya. Served by a good network of roads   (the Nairobi-Thika superhighway and the Kenol-Marua dual carriageway) ,  the town is home to  many  bustling   businesses.  Modern commercial and residential buildings are fast being developed in this town, giving it a new face. Mentor Sacco established a branch in Kenol way back in 2010, positioning itself to leverage the town’s unprecedented    growth.  Going by the big number of members who filled the D.C.C. Hall in the busy town to capacity during the Sacco’s MID in the second Saturday of May,that decision was well informed. Over one thousand members turned up.

Speaking after the highly successful event, Mr. Eliud Mbugua, the board of directors Chairman applauded members for helping Mentor Sacco to achieve its digitalization agenda. “80% percent of our members are able to carry out various  transactions   using their mobile phones ,” said Mr. Mbugua.  “This has enabled us to decongest our banking halls and enhance efficiency in our service delivery,” he added. By using the Sacco’s mobile banking platform dubbed Mentor QuickCash, members are able to deposit and withdraw money, access loans and settle utility bills among other benefits.

Mr. Mbugua attributed the record attendance of Kenol’s MID to the efforts of the Sacco’s marketing team and loyalty among the members. “Numbers matter a lot in the co-operative movement and that is why we have organized a big number of MIDs this year,” he said. “We want to recruit more members   in our   new market territories like Kiambu, Nairobi, Kajiado and upper Machakos and MIDs are one way of achieving that goal,” he added with optimism.

Mr. Peter Njenga, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Mentor Sacco.

Highlighting  the humble  roots  of  Mentor Sacco  in 1977 ( then known as Murang’a District Teachers  Sacco),  Mr. Peter Njenga, the chairman of the supervisory board  observed that   the opening  of the institution’s  common bond in  2011 was a game changer.  This allowed the Sacco to bring on board members from different professions as well as the business community. It also launched the front office service activity (FOSA), hence offering   its members an opportunity to deposit and withdraw money   over the counter (the same as commercial banks), on top of developing new products.  Before then according Mr. Njenga, members would wait for many days before accessing loans from the Sacco. “With an asset base of over Kshs. 13.5 billion, Mentor Sacco is very liquid and it takes our members a very short period of time to access loans,” he said.

Mr. Njenga further gave an assurance that the members of his team are focused on ensuring that the Sacco is solid and secure. “We are keen on ensuring that Mentor Sacco is able to add value to our   members as envisioned in our mantra,” he said.  Currently, he noted that the Sacco has members in all the forty seven counties of Kenya. Additionally, it has drawn members from America, Israel, Britain and Australia among other foreign   countries.

Theme

Mr. Francis Karingu, the director of co-operatives in Murang’a county encouraged members to patronize the products and services that are offered by Mentor Sacco in order to make it more profitable. “Your annual earnings from the Sacco in form of dividends and deposits’ interest will be enhanced when it generates high profits,” Mr. Karingu advised the members.  He also encouraged   them to channel all their income through the Sacco in order to boost their appraisal whenever they want to access loans. Mr. Karingu also advised members to develop budgets and avoid impulse buying in their bid to achieve financial success.

The facilitator of the day, Mr. Milton Otuoma–a seasoned financial literacy consultant – advised members to be visionary and have clear priorities in their endeavour to create and accumulate wealth.  In the same breath, he cautioned them to diversify their income streams. “Don’t just rely on your salary and pension, identify other opportunities where you can generate income like real estate,” said Mr. Otuoma.  “You create wealth by looking for opportunities through which you can solve other people’s problems,” he added. As a rule of thumb, he advised members to always pay themselves first (by for instance saving in their Sacco immediately after getting an income) before spending the money for shopping or other personal needs. In the same vein, he observed that it   is prudent for them to get loans from their sacco since the interest is far much lower in comparison to other lenders in the market.  Finally, he cautioned the members to protect their wealth through insurance.

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