Savings and Cooperative Societies, commonly known as Saccos, have long been instrumental in nurturing personal economic growth in Kenya. They provide a safety net during tough times, boost entrepreneurial ventures through loans, and contribute to significant life goals like homeownership and education. The allure of Saccos is undeniable, but before you jump aboard, here’s a comprehensive guide to equip you with essential insights and considerations.
Tailored for Membership
Saccos come in two categories—deposit-taking and non-deposit-taking. Deposit-taking Saccos allows you to open savings accounts for regular transactions, akin to a commercial bank. On the other hand, non-deposit Saccos require share purchases to become a member, and savings are usually refundable upon exit.
Joining a Sacco necessitates paying a registration or entrance fee, coupled with purchasing a prescribed number of shares. This capitalizes your membership and facilitates ownership in society. Some Saccos offer flexibility in paying shares—lump sum or monthly instalments—based on your financial capacity.
Monthly Savings Contributions
Each Sacco mandates a minimum monthly savings contribution. These deposits are non-withdrawable but serve as the basis for securing loans. The more you save, the higher your potential loan amount.
Loans are a significant benefit of Saccos. While savings determine loan eligibility, larger loan amounts often require a guarantor. Guarantors play a pivotal role in vouching for your loan repayment capacity.
Ensure your chosen Sacco is regulated by the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA). Licensed Saccos adhere to regulated operations and practices, ensuring a secure financial environment.
Diverse Investment Opportunities
Many Saccos offer investment tools, including development loans for property acquisition. Research the Sacco’s investment offerings and explore how they align with your financial aspirations.
Dividends and Membership
Membership in a Sacco can yield dividends from both your deposits and shares, providing an additional income stream.
Saccos can be classified as open bond or closed bond. Open bond Saccos admit members from various backgrounds, while closed bond Saccos restrict membership to a specific group, such as employees of a particular organization.
Bylaws and Alignment
Familiarize yourself with Sacco’s bylaws, which govern internal and external interactions. Ensure your intentions align with the cooperative’s guidelines and philosophy.
History and Reputation
Investigate Sacco’s track record and reputation. Analyze past financial statements distributed at Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to gain insight into their operations.
Participation and Involvement
Active participation is key. Attend member meetings and engage in legal processes like elections, where you can either run for a position or vote for candidates.
Withdrawals usually occur through Front Office Service Accounts (FOSA), which function as savings accounts within the Sacco.
Security and Guarantors
Stay informed about security policies and the role of guarantors when applying for loans.
Type of Saccos
Different Saccos cater to varying purposes, such as savings and credit Saccos for general financial needs and housing Saccos for specific objectives like homeownership.
Exiting a Sacco involves a formal application with a 60-day notice. Share transfers and guarantor considerations must be addressed.
In conclusion, while Saccos offer enticing benefits, informed decision-making is crucial. By understanding the intricacies of Sacco membership, regulations, benefits, and responsibilities, you can confidently embark on a journey towards a stronger financial future. So, whether you’re an employee or a business owner, take the time to research and choose a Sacco that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Your partnership with Sacco could be a significant step towards realizing your financial dreams.