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M-chipuka: a mobile app unveiled by Dimkes Sacco to allow its members access loans remotely.

4 min read
The new E-loan product will enable members with a mobile wallet, whether in an analogue or smart mobile, to borrow and repay loans from the comfort of their homes, offices and businesses

Caroline Gikonyo, Chairlady Dimkes Sacco

As it seeks to spread its wings further in an increasingly competitive environment, Dimkes Sacco launched a digital mobile E-loan app dubbed M-Chipuka, to make members’ borrowing easier and quick.

Dimkes started as an exclusively mother’s union (ladies) Sacco with member deposits of as low as Sh500 and less than 100 members, today prides itself with a portfolio of an asset base of Sh1.6 billion and membership of more than 26,000.

In 2010, the members of the mothers’ union group opened the Sacco to men and non-ACK members, a thing that has boosted its growth and now targets to 30,000 members in the next 2 years.

It has a customer deposit base of Sh1.4 billion, a loan book of Sh1.3 billion and core capital of Sh245 million.

The story of Dimkes Sacco shows that where there is will, there is a way and with determination, everything is achievable.

The Sacco, due to its sterling performance has received several awards over the years. In 2015, it was awarded for being the most improved urban Sacco during the Kiambu County Ushirika Day.

It got the best in branch network (large category) award during the International Coo-operatives Day in 2017 and 2018.

While in 2017, the Sacco received an award for being the most improved and fastest growing lower medium Sacco during the National Council for Ushirika Day celebrations adjudication awards.

During the same year, it was awarded the most improved Sacco-Tier 3 category during the International Cooperative Alliance Day celebrations.

The Sacco also got the best in technology optimisation community-based Sacco award during the International Cooperative Alliance Day Celebrations in 2018, where it was ranked position three countrywide.

Speaking during the launch at Elysian Resort in Kiambu hotel in Kiambu, Ms Caroline Gikonyo, the Chairlady said the Sacco is embracing technology to come up with more products that will foster its growth and efficiency.

The Sacco Chairlady challenged saccos to be innovative in order to improve service delivery and customer acquisition.

She added that the Sacco’s robust growth is a result of sound management that emphasises on transparency and accountability.

The new mobile loan app dubbed M-Chipuka, will see members seeking to borrow Sh30,000 and below gets their loan via the app through their mobile phones.

“Small-scale farmers have been able to upgrade their stock through the affordable loans we provide. Many have built permanent houses after buying land with our loans,’ she said.

Gikonyo adds the Sacco has, since 2014, registered 6,000 members on the mobile banking platform.

“We have invested in security mechanism to safeguard your funds and activities on the platform. The customer’s privacy has been upheld to a new level, in view of the new mobile loan product compared to the current model where customers were required to queue at their branches to access emergency funds,” said Mrs Gikonyo.

Benson Maina the Sacco CEO, said the new loan product will reach more members since they will be able to borrow without necessarily going to the banking halls.

It is a landmark event towards changing the SACCOs ecosystem, to bank the unbanked by leveraging technology to advance and improve efficiency of service delivery said the CEO.

The new E-loan product will enable members with a mobile wallet, whether in an analogue or smart mobile, to borrow and repay loans from the comfort of their homes, offices and businesses, said Mr. Maina

The sacco executive pointed out that businesses today are dynamic and uncertain due to globalization, and that the ever-changing customer needs and the accelerating pace of technology among other market forces compel them to keep changing and evaluating their strategies.

The entrance into the digital lending space the CEO added was to protect members interest and prevent members from relying on other sources for short term loans.

Mr. Maina noted that the innovation of digital loan apps had disrupted the market thus challenging traditional players such as banks and Saccos to rethink their strategy.

“The product will enable more members to access services, and find finances delivered by technology real time and will save customers time, while improving efficiency,” he added.

The CEO revealed the Sacco is strengthening systems and process in its 13 branches across Kiambu, Nairobi and Kajiado counties before rolling out an elaborate expansive drive.

Membership is open to individuals, chamas and corporates. Currently, the Sacco has branches in Kikuyu, Ngong, Kiserian, Nairobi, Limuru, Wangige, Banana, Githunguri, Ruaka and Kimende towns.

We will focus on the growth of youth banking to enhance their saving and borrowing culture.

Chief guest during the launch, Laura Chite the CEO of CIO East Africa said technology has become inevitable for many companies.

Laura added that mobile money is the way to go for companies to keep up with the changing world that is technology conscious to enable customers to respond instantly to their queries.

“Companies need to embrace technology in their operations to come up with robust security strategy to curb emerging fraud being perpetuated by technology,” she said.

And as the Sacco embarks on the third decade since formation, the founders are banking on the robust management team in place to steer its growth.

Data analytics enhances service delivery in business today as it informs the consumer needs based on culture. Leverage on that and others to change the face of SACCOs in the country and even globally.