The history of Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (Saccos) in Kenya dates back to 1908 when the Lumbwa Cooperative Society was formed. It operated under no laws but was registered under the Business Practices Ordinance, which was legislated in Great Britain. Its main objective was to market the dairy products of white settlers from its headquarters in Kipkelion, Kericho.
Lumba Cooperative Society failed in 1923 and was succeeded by Kenya Farmers Association (KFA) with a revised purpose of supplying agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, chemicals, and seeds to European settler farmers and arranging for the sale of their produce. This took advantage of the economies of scale and was purported to stand the test of time and deliver to its members.
The Saccos space has experienced a wave of developments since then, and a number of them, like the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC), were incorporated. After independence in 1963, people realized that cooperative societies were the engine of development in Kenya, and this led to the formation of the Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives (KNFC) in 1964 to oversee their operations and lobby for members’ interests.
Today, there are over 20,000 registered Saccos in Kenya, and KNFC roles were taken over by SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA), the statutory body to regulate and supervise Saccos in Kenya. It was formed under the Sacco Societies Act, No.14 of 2008, and falls under the State Department of Co-operatives under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Co-operatives.
Some of the roles of cooperative societies include securing members’ deposits and driving them to financial success by linking them to various economic channels and investment options that will see their money grow. For instance, agricultural-based Saccos help farmers procure, trade, and distribute farm inputs.
How to choose a Sacco to join
With thousands of options to choose from, it’s a headache to weed through all Saccos in Kenya and find the right one for you that will guarantee financial security and prosperity.
Before settling for a Sacco, consider doing your research beforehand to determine whether its values, mission, and vision are in line with your goals. Many find themselves losing money after making a wrong choice and going for fraudulent Saccos, often marred by mismanagement and corruption.
Here are some pointers on what you need to know before joining a Sacco in Kenya:
This is an important factor, especially when you are looking for the best online Saccos in Kenya. Reputation reflects Sacco’s customer service and general operations. Go through its website and read its history. If it was formed a long time ago and is still operational, that is an indicator that it is under proper management and worth applying for membership. Also, read customers’ reviews on application stores such as Google Play Store to note down how they react to its services.
2. Rates and interests
Checking Sacco’s loan rates and deposit interests will help you decide whether to join or not. It will help you gauge the amount of money to repay in case you borrow a loan and also speculate on the trend of your deposits. Most of this information is available on its website, or you can access them by visiting its offices.
Technology translates to convenience. These days, many people are busy and lack time to visit a Sacco branch for simple to complex services like access to funds and any other queries. Take time to learn how Sacco has modernized its services and the ease of getting to the customer care team. This will come in very handy when you have pressing issues that need timely solutions.
One of the main reasons for joining a Sacco is to have financial success. Dividends are payouts made to members by respective Saccos when its fiscal year ends. Saccos with double-digit dividends are well off than those offering below 5% of your shares. Consider joining the Saccos with high dividends.
5. Loan repayment period
What happens when you delay repaying your loan? You should apply for membership in Saccos with flexible terms to avoid dire consequences like auctioneering. Before joining a Sacco, find out if they can extend repayment loan periods.
Can you join a Sacco online in Kenya?
Yes. There are a couple of online Saccos in Kenya that you can join from anywhere, provided that you have internet access and you are above 18 years, a principal requirement to access any credit facility.
Saccos you can join online in Kenya
Here are the top 3 best online Saccos you can register now in Kenya:
1. Safaricom Sacco
2. Digi Sacco
3. Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco
Safaricom Sacco was formed in 2001 with its first members from the giant telco company Safaricom, but it accepts members from all who are over 18 years.
For individual membership, the joining fee is Ksh1,000, and every member is mandated to purchase a minimum of 400 shares that trade at Ksh100 each. The good news is that it guarantees huge returns. Based on Safaricom Sacco’s performance for 2022 in the fiscal year that ended in 2021, the dividend payout was at the rate of 18% and an interest rate of 13% on deposits.
Safaricom Sacco contacts
Digi Saco – Digital Sacco – was founded by the Directors of Onfon Media Group Ltd (Dennis Makori and Andrew Mbuya) to mobilize funds and increase the level of savings and investments for the benefit of members in order to realize rapid economic empowerment.
To join Digi Sacco, you must pay a Ksh200 registration fee and purchase 15 shares worth Ksh300. After registration, you can qualify for various loan facilities like Jipange loan, Emergency loan, Student/Jisort loan, School fee loan, Biashara loan, Development loan, and Investment loan. How do you join Digi Sacco?
1. Dial *847#
2. Select language
3. Enter your full names
4. Enter your ID No.
5. Enter your postal or E-mail Address
6. Enter your monthly pledge amount
7. Agree to terms and conditions
You can also access Digi Sacco services by downloading the Digi Sacco app on Google Play Store.
Digi Sacco pays dividends at the end of every financial year with rates of over 10.5%.
Digi Sacco contacts
Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco
Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco, as the name suggests, previously targeted Kenyans living in the USA, but its membership is currently open to everyone. It’s a unique Sacco because; not only does it allow members to make deposits and access loans but also buy NSE shares, Treasury Bills, and Bonds.
Its loan interests are 8% for payments made in US dollars and 15% for Kenyan shillings, with a repayment period of 12 months to 20 years, depending on the type of loan.
To join Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco, you must pay a non-refundable registration fee of Ksh10,000, deposit another Ksh10,000 in your main savings account and buy 20 shares worth Ksh20,000 within 6 months of registration.
To become a member of Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco, fill out and submit this application form.
Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco contacts
Other online Saccos to join in Kenya are: