For eons digitization has been given a wide berth by the Sacco sector movement and the reasons are rather easy.
Digitization in the Sacco movement is one of the last remaining steps to have the sector sort the inefficiency problems, high cost of running the business as well as competition with the Credit only firms, microfinances, and banks.
While manual processes may be the norm, the new normal is a world of possibilities; one whose main backbone is automation and information security.
With the need to increase efficiency, the adoption of automated loan process, account opening as well as money transactions is a frontier that if adopted becomes a gamechanger.
When Yetu Sacco (formerly South Imenti Tea Sacco) launched a Bio Metric ATM over a decade ago, this was a game changer. An opportunity by an industry to open Alternative Business Channels. That dream of my Sacco issuing me with a Credit or Debit Card that’s Visa or Mastercard enabled for use would be pride and joy of most members
The dream that as a member one can apply for his loan facility from the comfort of his office and have the same approved and disbursed without a manual paper is a possibility. Stima Sacco has an internet banking module that enables one to transact, but one whose capability can be expanded to make one never visit the branch.
The three things that Sacco Movement must win against to move to the next level that’s mass adoption of fintech, digitization and automation for processes are
First is the exposure. Our Sacco Boards are the policy makers. While the Sacco movement works on democracy, there is need to not only use shares are the core qualification to run for a seat and adopt the need for independent board members who brings in the much needed expertise required in governance and policy making. Technology requires proper planning and understanding, which comes with exposure.
Secondly is the urge to have a large labor force. Nothing betrays efficiency more than a large labor force for a job that can be handled by less than 20% of the number. With technology comes reduced labor force in departments that are paper intensive and increased labor demand in other departments like business development, information technology and client relations. Has your Sacco ever set up a call center?
Thirdly, poor member education. Member education is a great model to educate your members on products and services you wish to introduce. With an informed membership, adoption of the right technology will not be hard.
As Mohammed Hersi always quotes as he handles a topic ‘I always remain optimistic’