COMOCO SACCO Society is the new century’s SACCO of choice. Its membership stands at over 5000 spread across Kenya. It has a 42-year-legacy of sustained growth with a good asset base. The SACCO sits on its own building, a four-storey housed located in Nairobi’s South B.
The SACCO was registered in 1977 to provide a platform for members to save and borrow money. It is a brainchild of CMC Motors Group limited which originally targeted to draw its members from its existing networks of 38 companies.
It has since expanded and acquired members from the employment and business sectors in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Meru, Nanyuki, Kisumu, Kitale, Eldoret, Migori, Homabay, Kakamega, Sori, and Thika. The SACCO continues to change lives and impact positively on Kenya’s economy. It has provided employment to over 51 people all over the country.
COMOCO stands for Cupa Motors Corporation. It has a solid foundation partly arises from the fact that a good number of its members are drawn from strong manufacturing companies which command a significant asset base in Kenya.
Some of the SACCO members are drawn from CMC Holdings Ltd, Simba Corporation Ltd, Car and General Ltd, Rosewood Office Systems, Tononoka Steel Ltd, Bavaria Auto Ltd. Corporate Insurance Ltd, CMC Aviation, KIRDI, Pipe Manufacturers Ltd, Automotive Solutions Ltd, Bagdas Ltd, Corporate Insurance Ltd, CMC Aviation, KIRDI, and Automotive Solutions Ltd.
Members are also drawn from Stantech Motors Ltd, African Fleet Management Ltd, Express Automation Ltd, Armaco Ltd, Skynet Ltd, SMEC International Ltd, Aquimist Ltd, Chemigas Ltd, Dalex Ltd, Relanko Ltd, Avis Ltd, Space and Style Ltd, Roy Transmotors Ltd, CODA Ltd, Nissan Kenya, Odd Mac Ltd and Labh Singh, among others.
The minimum monthly contribution has been set at Kshs. 3000 per month. However, contributions as low as Ksh. 500 per month or 100 per day have been allowed to a few SMEs. An existing member qualifies for up to 3 times their savings at any given time.
Collateral is required to obtain a loan. This may be a motor vehicle log book, title deed or co-guarantorship which applies for small-scale traders who lack collateral. They form groups, then co-guarantee each and their shares act as collateral. In addition, they have to remit monthly savings and they have a responsibility to make sure every member of the group contributes.
Loan repayment period ranges from one month to 60 months. Interest rates range between 1% to 1.5% depending on the product and the repayment period. The shorter the repayment period, the lower the interest rate.
In addition to loans, the SACCO has facilitated its members to invest in different economic activities such as greenhouses, poultry, land and motor vehicle, depending on individual needs and ability. The SACCO has partnered with land vendors, acquired and subdivided the land into 1/8 acre which is sold to members at Ksh. 700,000 in Nairobi (Kangudo road) and Ksh. 650,000 in Kisumu (Kibos). Over 200 plots have been sold with 140 left. These plots can also be sold to non-members.
The SACCO Leadership
The SACCO is headed by the national chairman Mr. Richard Aton Oluoch who sits in the national office in Nairobi. Each branch is headed by a regional chairman, who all report to the national chairman.
Mr. Oluoch is 54-years-old, is widely traveled and has a wealth of knowledge in financial and investment matters. Although this is his second year as the SACCO’s national chairman, he has cumulatively served the SACCO for 13 years in different capacities. He was previously the SACCO’s vice chairman. He has also served as the chairman of the Credit Committee and chairman of Education Committee respectively.
COMOCO SACCO operates three departments namely Back Office (BOSO), Front Office (FOSO) and Micro Saver Unit. Plans are underway to introduce a pension product to cater for the financial needs of the retired people.
Through its departments, the SACCO offers an array of products which are all available to both members and non-members at any given time. Notable ones include Development loan, School fees loan, Golden loan, Emergency loan, Vuka Mwezi, Mfalme, Advance, Instant, Soft landing, Mdosi, Higher Education and Reliever loans. Detailed information on these can be acquired from the SACCO’s offices. The SACCO provides loans to the permanently-employed and business people all over Kenya.
What sets COMOCO SACCO apart?
The SACCO boasts of having enabled most of its members and non-members alike to acquire different assets. Closer home is a case of the Mr. Oluoch, the SACCO’s national chairman; ‘I have been able to buy and develop a plot, I own the home I live in, I’ve bought a personal car, and a taxi, I have educated my 6 children, with the last born currently undertaking her university education in the USA, and I’m currently developing a 4 storey house; all as a result of loans I have acquired from the SACCO,’ says Mr. Oluoch proudly. He sums it up by saying that the SACCO simply changes lives.
In addition, the SACCO has provided a convenient channel of accessing funds. It has a quick loan application and approval processes, members apply for loans in the morning and get them within the same day. The chairman is always available, easily accessible and can intervene in cases of emergency. This gives comfort to the SACCO members.
Although the SACCO has a strong financial base, it has not been without challenges. The unstable economic situation witnessed in Kenya from the economic crunch to the pre and post election period have affected the SACCO’s liquidity.
Some companies have downsized or retrenched some of their employees and this has led to decreased contributions. Some employers are now slow to remit employee contributions despite deducting them from their salaries. The SACCO has had to file court cases in addition to working with the Ministry of Cooperatives and government in efforts to recover these moneys.
To deal with this situation, the SACCO is now shifting focus from employed members to concentrate more on stable business people. The SACCO cites the base lending rate as imposed by the Central Bank of Kenya as unfavorable, leading to high retail value of their loans. The SACCO has also lost revenue due to cybercrime. It has from time to time; telecommunication service providers and employees have colluded to defraud the SACCO.
The SACCO is still paying for the office property which it acquired and as such it has to continue registering profits. A stern Mr. Oluoch says that the SACCO is working on a turn-around strategy. He says this pointing to a board which is displayed on the wall which bears a table with different staff and their performance. ‘Any marketer who reports negative figures for 3 consecutive months is automatically replaced,’ he says.
Change of perception
The SACCO is calling upon the public to change their perception about SACCOs as they contribute significantly to the country’s GDP. People should view SACCOs as serious financial institutions as opposed to welfare groups. Like banks, the SACCOs need to grow and should be taken seriously. People need to be prudent, and SACCO elections should be conducted in a more professional manner to acquire competent staff.
Support and good will
The SACCO acknowledges that overwhelming support from the government has contributed to its success. At the moment, the government has channeled into the SACCO Ksh. 10million to be distributed to women enterprise at 8% interest.
The SACCO is also grateful to its strategic partners including the Ministry of cooperatives; Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA); KUSCO; Cooperative bank, and CIC, who have been very supportive.