Stima Sacco customers locked out of mobile platforms over system outage


Stima Sacco members queue outside its Kimathi Street offices in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

A prolonged system outage has locked thousands of Stima Sacco customers from key services including cash deposit and withdrawal via mobile platforms.

The service outage, mainly on MPawa and USSD code systems, has been on and off in the last one month following the upgrade of the banking platform of one of Kenya’s major savings and credit cooperative societies.

The service interruption has persisted for days, leaving nearly 177,260 of its customers with no option but to seek services via the counter.

Other services offered by the Sacco over-the-counter such as cash deposits were not disrupted after the software enhancement.

“We are in full gear with all parties concerned and are putting in every resource to prioritise the optimisation of the system in order to better serve our esteemed members,” said Stima Sacco in a statement on Thursday.

But despite assurances from the Sacco that the services would resume by Thursday, a random spot check on the sacco’s customers showed that they could not transact via its mobile banking platforms.

The institution with Sh53.8 billion in assets said it had to migrate all of its services to a new system that is more secure and efficient.

Under the new system, customers will be able to carry out electronic funds transfer (EFT), Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), and direct deposits.

They will also access funds using all Visa-branded ATMs and pay at the point of sale.

On Thursday, many customers said the technical delays had greatly affected their daily operations and pleaded for a speedy resolution.

The sacco declared a distribution of Sh395.7 million as dividends to members for the financial year ended December 31, 2022, lifting the payout from Sh306.8 million in December 2021.

The higher payout was realised despite a 36 percent drop in surplus for the period from Sh1.432 billion to Sh996.3 million.

During the year, Stima Sacco loans to members grew to Sh41.3 billion from Sh36.9 billion in 2021 while it raised its investment in government securities to Sh1.97 billion from a flat Sh1 billion previously.

The growth has pushed Stima Sacco asset base to Sh53.8 billion from Sh46.5 billion previously.

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