Unaitas to go into full banking as capital grows

Unaitas Savings and Credit Co-operative Society’s share capital is expected to hit the Sh1 billion mark by the end of this year as it looks to venture into full banking services.

Currently, the Sacco’s share capital is Sh752 million compared to Sh696 million in December last year, chairman Joseph Ngaai said during the shareholders’ annual meeting held in Murang’a last week.

In the its 2014–2018 Strategic Plan, the society plans to establish itself as a bank after meeting the set minimum requirements by the government.

However, he said they plan to establish a bank with the uniqueness of offering affordable products to depositors and shareholders, and consultations with the Capital Markets Authority are ongoing.

“We intend to make our Sacco a strategic investor in a banking, where we can offer our depositors affordable credit through our model bank,” the chairman said.

The society targets low and middle income groups in an effort to help the country meet its Vision 2030 goals, and, so far, has a base of 135,000 shareholders, Mr Ngaai said.

Unaitas, which started operations in 1993 as a tea farmers’ savings and credit society in the larger Murang’a area, later became Muramati Sacco before re-branding four years ago.

The society has over 30 branches countrywide and plans to list in the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

The microfinance bank opened a branch in Nairobi Holy Family Basilica to serve as administrative headquarters, shifting its head offices from the native Murang’a county where it has been since its start. Mr Ngaai said during the annual general meeting held at Golden Palm Hotel in Murang’a County last week.

The plan to shift its head offices is one of the larger objectives of giving it a national outlook and give it an edge in attracting customers from diverse backgrounds as Nairobi is a cosmopolitan location.

Other newly-opened branches include Machakos, Mlolongo, Emali, Thika among others in different parts of the country.

During the AGM, each of the shareholders got a dividend of nine per cent, besides a bonus issue of one share for every 20 shares held from 2009 and earlier, according to the its chief executive, Tony Mwangi.

A financial report read to members indicated an 81 percent growth in savings and deposit last year, rising from Sh2.7 billion in 2012 to Sh3.7 billion.

The Sacco intends to grow deposits to above Sh8 billion by the end of 2016 through improved product and service delivery, Mr Mwangi said.