For four decades Boresha Sacco has been helping to transform the lives of the Baringo County residents by offering loans and other financial services.
The sacco has withstood the test of turbulent financial times that has seen a number of societies split or collapse altogether, growing to become one of the biggest indigenous financial institutions in the county and its environs.
The sacco’s headquarters is at the imposing multi-million Teachers Plaza in Eldama Ravine town in Koibatek Sub county. The plaza, which is part of the society's asset base which stands at Sh7.4 billion, is a testimony to the sacco’s rock solid foundation and determination to scale great heights of success.
The sacco also owns another building at Kabarnet town.
“The two assets are worth about Sh300 million and they are some of our source of income as we have rented out office space,” says Boresha head of marketing, Philemon Chebii.
The sacco plans to put up another office block in Marigat town to serve the lower region of Baringo County.
The tier one sacco, as per saccos societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) classification, has since expanded its wings to counties of Uasin Gishu, Nakuru, Nandi, Laikipia and Elgeyo-Marakwet.
But how was the sacco born?
It was registered on August 31, 1976 by a group of 10 teachers led by the late Nicholas Kangongo. The goal was to set up a sacco as part of efforts to fight poverty and improve teachers’ livelihoods.
“The 10 teachers were united and laid a sound financial stone that has transformed millions of Kenyans who are reaping from their idea,”Mr Chebii tells Enterprise.
“The founders started the sacco from a humble beginning and that is why it has a rich history that each member should know to understand the sacco’s spirit of saving regularly, borrowing wisely and repaying promptly.”
The society then known as Baringo Teachers Savings and Credit Society began operations with a capital of Sh60,000 and one staff member.
As the sacco became the preferred financial provider due to its services that rode on quality, integrity, professionalism, innovation and good customer service, the society attracted more members from the neighbouring counties.
It rebranded from Baringo Teachers Sacco Society Limited in 2012 to Boresha Sacco. This move saw the sacco cast its net wider to attract members and partners nationally and internationally who hitherto could not be served due to its initial name and geographical location.
Boresha then thrived because banks had shunned the region and most residents in rural Baringo did not own a bank account.
“The pastoralists community from far flung areas like East Pokot, Nginyang and Kapedo never had banking services closer to them and were travelling up to Nakuru or Eldoret for a simple cheque clearance,” says a member at Kabarnet Boresha offices.
Mr Chebii says the sacco won the confidence of pastoralists, teachers, matatu operators among others who entrusted the society with their money.
“Due to transparency, good governance and accountability which guaranteed the residents safety of their savings, the confidence in the sacco grew tremendously,” adds Mr Chebii.
The sacco now has a customer base of 108,196 and still counting.
“According to our strategic plan we target to hit a membership of 150,000 as we plan to improve our financial services to suit the needs of our loyal customers,” notes Mr Chebii.
The sacco led by Dr Moses Chebor as the chief executive officer, has 11 board of directors and has attracted workers in Baringo County, Ministry of Health and the business community.
Members’ savings is Sh4.7 billion while loans advanced to members stands at Sh5.9 billion. The members are set to be paid Sh324 million as dividends for 2019.
The society has created job opportunities and from a single employee, the sacco has 174 permanent staff.
“We encourage members to buy equity shares in the buildings the sacco owns as they stand to be paid dividends at the end of the year,” added Mr Chebii.
Despite being a big success, the sacco is grappling with a number of challenges. However, the managers say they are up to the task of meeting these setbacks.
Mr Chebii says one of the major challenges the sacco is facing is loan default running into millions of shillings.
“We have employed field officers who are tracking down the defaulters to ensure they pay their loans promptly,” he says.