HOW JOSEPHINE MUTWIRI HAS GROWN WITH PROGRESSIVE CREDIT

    Josephine Mutwiri, Head of Operations, Progressive Credit.
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    Making her job entry as a loan officer, young lady has grown her career over the years and is now serving as a top executive and board member of a fast growing credit only microfinance institution

    By George Gichuki

    Young, ambitious and articulate, Josephine Mutwiri is the head of operations at Progressive Credit. Additionally, she is the secretary to the lender’s board of directors where she represents the staff members and customers. Her appointment to the board was strategic considering that fifty per cent of Progressive Credit’s customers are youth. “The operations department is in charge of the branch network, loan disbursement and credit risk,” she says.

    Josephine joined Progressive Credit as a young university graduate in 2011. She was the fourth employee. She has witnessed the remarkable growth of the lender within a short span of ten years, especially in the number of employees and branch network. “We grew from four, forty to eighty staff members and when became one hundred, we celebrated a lot,” says Josephine adding that currently, they are three hundred and fifty three.

    One of the major contributors of this fast growth has been the strong organizational culture of Progressive Credit. “Asan organization, we treat our customers and staff members in a friendly and humane way,” says Josephine. “Consequently, we have been able to attract and retain employees who are highly talented and motivated,” she adds. While celebrating its tenth anniversary last year, there were thirty eighty staff members who were recognized for serving the lender for over five years. “That was a very good rate of retention considering that we are still a growing organization,” Josephine points out.

    Further, according to Josephine, Progressive Credit has also experienced growth because of being agile. “Like a building site, we keep changing as an organization in order to become better,” she says. Additionally, the lender’s clear processes have enabled it to deliver exemplary service to its customers and hence they are very satisfied. “Most of our satisfied customers refer their friends to us and hence growing our business significantly,” she avers.

    Being in the business of money lending money, integrity is one of the values that Progressive Credit holds dearly. This has also significantly contributed to its growth.

    Visibility

    During its early days in the market, the visibility of Progressive Credit’s brand was very low. Few people knew of the lender’s existence and it therefore required a lot of effort to win new customers. “We relied on Mr. Mbaabu’s good track record in the banking industry to bring on board new customers,” recalls Josephine. On a light note, she remembers an incident when a customer who had used his title deed to secure a loan wondered whether it would be in safe custody or he was likely to lose it if the business happened to be closed. “Gaining credibility from the customers was an uphill task,” she says. To overcome that hurdle, Progressive Credit would organize meetings with prospective customers in order to train them on its product offering and services. This effort bore fruits. Indeed, the lender opened its first branch at Kawangware, one of the places where the said meetings were frequently organized.

    Staff

    Progressive Credit has grown hand in hand with its staff members. “ I am one of the employees who have grown their careers after serving Progressive credit for some years,” Josephine says. She joined the organization as a fresh graduate and her first job was a loan officer. She later qualified as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA-K) and attained a Master of Business Administration ( MBA) degree from Strathmore University, hence raising through the ranks to become the lender’s head of operations and board member.

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