Dr. Gamaliel Hassan, Chief Executive Officer, Stima Sacco addressing guests during the launch of the affordable housing mortage product in a past event.

By Zeytun Sharamo

Savings  and credit co-operative societies ( Saccos)  are   member-based financial institutions.  They  operate on identity, principles and co-operate values that include :  honesty, integrity, social responsibility and openness.  Saccos  provide  financial services and  products  to  their  members   who share a common interest such as labour unions, working for the same employer, belonging to the same social fraternity or profession  and   living in the same geographical areas among others . The main  objective  of  establishing   Saccos   is to   improve  the socio-economic status  of  their  members   by  providing  them  with  innovative financial solutions.  


Many people in the country have viable  business ideas but they  lack the financial capability to implement them. To achieve  financial freedom, one  of   the best choices  for an individual  would be  joining  a Sacco. To  start  with,  Saccos   offer  their members  competitive   interest rates on loans, and attractive   interest rates for savings  compared to other financial institutions.

A Sacco member is expected to maintain a certain amount   of monthly savings even while paying off a loan. This helps the individual to accumulate a substantial base while building a savings  discipline. Saccos  also annually  provide  members with dividends on their deposits   depending on how much profit they have  made in a given financial year.  The  higher the  deposits, the higher  the dividends  a member gets. 


The Sacco  Society Regulatory Authority  ( SASRA) was established   under section 4 of the Sacco   Societies Act, 2008 of the laws of Kenya. Section 68 of the Act required  the minister in charge of cooperatives to make specific guidelines for efficient implementation of the 2008 Act. Sacco Societies Regulations 2010 were operationalized on June 18th 2010 following gazettement, and SASRA became accountable for their implementation.

Deposit-taking Saccos licensing

Licensing of Saccos to undertake deposit-taking is specified under Section 24 of the Act and section 4 of the regulations. In addition, it is renewable annually. Section 69 of the Sacco  Societies Act, 2008 indicates that, all deposit-taking Saccos were needed to apply for a license within 1 year from its publication date. Nevertheless, on account of Section 68 of the Act, this period was over in June 2011.

Categorization of Saccos in Kenya

A  Sacco is an independent grouping of people who come together to meet their financial needs through a democratically controlled and jointly owned enterprise. A capital formulation is promoted by a Sacco through collecting deposits from individuals and groups. People can access the finances through credit facilities for investments and personal development. In Kenya, the first cooperative society was found in 1908. At the time, eligibility to join the cooperative was established along unique common bond linkages.

 Adoption of the Cooperatives Society Act, Cap. 490, further consolidated Kenyan society’s distinctiveness. SASRA  has grouped deposit taking Saccos  according to their total assets. Grouping is essential because it estimates the risk within deposit taking  Saccos contingent on the  strength, opportunities and challenges associated with assets. This helps  SASRA  in determining the  strengths and weaknesses of individual Sacco. A total of twenty one  deposit-taking Saccos  have been classified as tier one, each one of them having assets over Kshs.  5 billion.  Tier two  consists of fifty nine   deposit-taking Saccos with assets worth between Kshs.  1 billion to 5 billion. Tier 3 consist of  ninety four  small-sized  deposit-taking Saccos.

 Top Saccos in Kenya

Stima Sacco 

Stima Sacco  was started  in 1974 by  only  five employees of   the then East African Power and lightening Company. Its fortunes have grown in leaps and bounds   over the years and it is now a tier one Sacco with membership from various sectors of  the economy. Its asset base is Kshs. 53.8 billion.     

Kenya National Police DT Sacco

The Kenya  National  Police  DT Sacco  was  established  in 1972.  With a countrywide  footprint,  it   has immensely grown over time.  It has an asset base of  Kshs. 48.9 billion.   The leading tier one Sacco has opened its common bond to civil servants, county government employees, professionals and members of the business community.

Mentor Sacco

Mentor Sacco was started  in 1976  by only three hundred teachers from the then Murang’a district. Before rebranding, the leading tier one sacco with an asset base of Kshs. 11.76 billion was known as Murang’a Teachers Savings and Credit Co-operative.  With a robust  digital platform and innovative product offering,  Mentor Sacco has made major inroads in Murang’a, Kiambu, Nairobi and Kajiado counties.



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