Nairobi, Kenya— World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) and Strathmore University in Nairobi are teaming up to develop the Strathmore WOCCU African Management Institute (SWAMI) to officially provide intensive, in-service training for credit union managers and board members based on the PEARLS operating system, WOCCU's checklist for credit union success based on measures such as asset quality, liquidity and growth. SWAMI will help ensure that East African Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) meet internationally accepted standards of safety and soundness.
At the official SWAMI launch, 60 Kenyan credit union professionals heard presentations by Dr. Brian Branch, chief operating officer and vice president for WOCCU; Benjamin Sogomo, permanent secretary for the Kenyan Ministry of Cooperative Development and Marketing; Anne Cochran, president of the Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL); professor John Odhiambo, president, Strathmore University; and Mr. Ntoitha M'Mithiaru, chair of the Commission Task Force to draft SACCO Law.
Sogomo, the keynote speaker, expressed strong belief in the importance of the SWAMI training for reducing mismanagement and misdirected business decisions, adding his hope that many managers and board members could benefit from the new initiative. He pledged the support of the Ministry in this effort.
Branch spoke on the specific challenges facing SACCOs and how to overcome them, stressing the need to generate savings as sufficient liquidity for loan demand. As Branch explained, WOCCU has found, worldwide, that savers look for three qualities in a banking institution. In order of importance, they are: strict discipline to protect savings, ease of access to savings and high return on savings. Based on these findings, Branch concluded that the greatest challenge to the SACCO is to create a safe institution in which to attract depositors while offering competitive lines of credit to borrowers.
Highlighting the importance SACCO education and training, Cochran shared her hope that the Nairobi based institute will expand to become a regional institute for SACCO managers and board members."The Louisiana Credit Union League firmly believes in the empowerment of SACCO's managers and board of directors through education. SWAMI will give attendees an inside track to achieving success, while incorporating a commitment to the credit union philosophy as well as having access to top quality education," noted Cochran.
To achieve this aim, new legislation is in the works that will ensure safety and soundness for SACCOs across Kenya. Besides safety and soundness standards, the proposed SACCO Law includes several other provisions to benefit these financial institutions. M'Mithiaru summarized these as follows: expansion of financial services outreach in Kenya, establishment of an independent mechanism for regulatory supervision of SACCOs and the introduction of a savings guarantee mechanism.
Edward Mudibo, managing director of the Kenyan Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (KUSCCO) supported the launch initiative and pledged the support of KUSCCO (the national association) and the cooperatives.
The SACCO Law would greatly alleviate many problems common to an unregulated market, including limited product diversity and poor governance and management. The Ministry is also working on the creation of a SACCO Regulatory Agency. All SACCOs must declare assets, liabilities and income on an annual basis.
With SWAMI, the SACCO Law and the SACCO Regulatory Agency, Kenya's SACCOs are quickly moving towards universal standards of quality, safety and soundness that will improve Kenya's economic standing for years to come.
El Consejo Mundial de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito es la asociación gremial y agencia de desarrollo para el sistema internacional de cooperativas de ahorro y crédito. El Consejo Mundial promueve el crecimiento sustentable de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y otras cooperativas financieras en todo el mundo a fin de facultar a las personas para que mejoren su calidad de vida a través del acceso a servicios financieros asequibles y de alta calidad. El Consejo Mundial realiza esfuerzos de defensa activa en representación del sistema global de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito ante organizaciones internacionales y trabaja con gobiernos nacionales para mejorar la legislación y la regulación. Sus programas de asistencia técnica introducen nuevas herramientas y tecnologías para fortalecer el desempeño financiero de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y profundizar su alcance comunitario.
El Consejo Mundial ha implementado 290 programas de asistencia técnica en 71 países. A nivel mundial, 57,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 105 países atienden a 217 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en www.woccu.org.