Savings and credit cooperatives (Saccos) are able to register growth by rebranding and using names that give a national identity, making them appeal to any consumer who is seeking financial services.
George Ototo, managing director of Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives (KUSCCO) in an interview with Business Daily on Friday said that Saccos that have rebranded have seen an increase in membership.
Mr Ototo gave the example of Metropolitan Teachers Sacco which rebranded from Kiambu Teachers Sacco, adding that it was then able to expand to Bungoma, Kisumu and Mombasa, as well as Yetu Sacco which was formerly called South Imenti Teachers Sacco.
“As a result of this (rebranding) they have expanded their brand network. It gives them a national appeal and they are able to grow regionally,” he said.
Metropolitan Teachers Sacco had 30,086 members at the end of June this year with branches in Nairobi, Kiambu, Limuru and Thika according to information on its website.
Unaitas which changed its name from Muramati Sacco and Metropolitan Teachers Sacco are some of the Saccos in the country which are in the process of recruiting new members.
Since the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) placed regulations including that all deposit-taking Saccos must have a core capital of not less than 10 million shillings, licensed Saccos have launched recruitment drives and share promotions.
New and existing members will be expected to provide money that will be used to make new investments and meet regulatory requirements.
“It (the rebranding) is expensive but we are yet to quantify the benefit but they do it to rope in new members,” said Mr Ototo.
Saccos have traditionally focused on customers in rural areas but are now focusing on getting new ones even in urban areas to drive their growth.
Unaitas chief executive officer Tony Mwangi during a recent conference organised for investment groups - also known as Chamas - told journalists that the Sacco was targeting to grow its membership but 100,000 by next July and that the new corporate identity had resulted in an increase in number of members.
“We want to grow by 100,000 members within the next one year and the driver is the issue of corporate branding. It is one of the value propositions that we are getting from the new brand,” said Mr Mwangi.
According to its latest financial results for the period ended December 2011, Unaitas had 47,533 members who held investment shares not including members who just held deposits with the Sacco.
As at the end of December 2010 the Sacco had disclosed that it had 86,301 members a number that included those who held deposits.
Unaitas, which had 13 branches as at the end of last year had assets worth Sh2.8 billion, paid out Sh20.977 billion in dividends on investment shares and paid interest on deposits held at 6 per cent.
Others that have also rebranded include Cosmopolitan Sacco which changed its name from Nakuru Teachers Sacco, Bingwa Sacco formerly Kirinyaga Tea Growers Sacco, Taifa Sacco -formerly Nyeri Farmers’ Cooperative Society, and Wananchi Sacco -formerly Nyeri Tea Growers Sacco.