The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) is a statutory state corporation established under the Sacco Societies Act (Cap 490B) of the Laws of Kenya (the Act) which came into full operation upon the gazettement of the Sacco Societies (Deposit-taking Sacco Business) Regulations, 2010 (the Regulations 2010) on 18th June 2010.
Saccos are member owned and not profit oriented. Their philosophy is “people helping people to help themselves.” They control 35% of Kenya’s economy.
People prefer Sacco’s due to the easy source of credit and low interest rates of as low as 1-2%. Most of the Cooperative Sacco’s are attached to commercial entities like workplaces as a security for regular savings and loan repayment.
The Ministry of Cooperative and Development, which was changed to a department of Cooperative and development, oversees the running of Sacco’s in Kenya guided by the Sacco by-laws. Officials from the department of Cooperative and development facilitate trainings to Sacco members to facilitate the savings and credit culture among other functions.
The SASRA website has a list of authorized auditors who can be contracted to perform account audits for Sacco’s.
Membership is open to people affiliated to the different entities running the Saccos. For example, Stima Sacco– for workers in the energy sector, Bibilia Sacco, for workers in Christian based organizations and the different mandatory transport Saccos- for the public service vehicle operators.
Among functions of Sacco’s are development, education, emergency and housing loans. A Sacco also makes investments on behalf of its members who enjoy dividends annually.
There are several faith based Saccos in Kenya. Among them are Kingdom Sacco based in Githurai Nairobi, which even operates a Front Office Savings Account (FOSA), Bibilia Sacco, Lifeboat Sacco and CITAM’s LaNyavo Sacco.
Lifeboat Sacco has experienced a growth of capitalization from 500,000 shillings to five million in five years. They have a projected growth of ten times by the year 2019. A strategic meeting will be held this week to plan on the way forward for Lifeboat Sacco. They are projecting to have an office and a Sacco administrator in the next financial year, depending on their financial capabilities.