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Kwara launches regional offices to enable thousands of SACCOs across Kenya

“Our commitment to provide world-class digitisation and top-notch support is further reinforced. This is just the beginning.” — Cynthia Wandia, co-founder and CEO of Kwara.

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Team Kwara
Team Kwara

In a bid to boost expansion plans across Kenya, digital banking platform Kwara, has launched regional offices in the Western, Central, Rift Valley and Coastal regions of Kenya.

Kwara offers a digital banking platform that transforms existing credit unions and savings cooperatives (SACCOs) into modern, digital financial institutions. Currently serving almost 50 credit unions worldwide, the company is targeting an even broader scope of SACCOs

We continue to deepen our side-by-side collaboration with SACCOs by investing even more resources countrywide. Our commitment to provide world-class digitisation and top-notch support is further reinforced. This is just the beginning.” said Cynthia Wandia, co-founder and CEO of Kwara.

As part of the launch, the financial technology company held regional town hall meetings in Meru, Mombasa, Bungoma and Eldoret, attended by hundreds of participants. The meeting acted as a launchpad to introduce Kwara in a personalised and open setting. 

SACCO staff, District Cooperative Officers and SACCO members interacted with the Kwara team on the myriad of issues they experienced last year. These included Covid-19 challenges, lack of affordable systems and inconsistent vendor support.

During the pandemic, many SACCOs in Western, Central and Coastal Kenya had a number of members unable to visit their SACCO branches to apply for much needed loans. In the course of the event, mobile banking was discussed as a key product that would solve these challenges. 

With Kwara’s mobile app, loan uptake across existing clients has grown by 300%. The SACCO representatives confirmed that they seek to give members control over loan application and balance enquiries on their phone. This would allow their staff to focus on membership growth and value creation through the generation of innovative financial products.

Also, the participants discussed the importance of cloud-based solutions, especially ones that are subscription based. Many SACCOs responded positively, given that system affordability and security was mentioned as a blocker for SACCOs seeking a reliable management solution. 

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Several SACCOs admitted the inability to afford acquiring and adequately securing an on-premises management solution, but saw possibilities in the flexible pricing tier Kwara offers.

Vendor support was also an issue that prevented a majority of SACCOs from fully digitising operations. Many had to shelve their SACCO management systems due to inconsistent or lack of technical support from their vendors, according to attendants. Kwara mentioned that their cloud-based subscription model meant continuous improvement of the product, as well as cost-free support from the customer success team. 

Within weeks of the launch, four SACCOs in the region signed up for the core banking platform and mobile app. Overall, the regional launch was a success, yielding positive feedback and demo requests from a variety of SACCOs across Kenya. The company aims to onboard another 20 SACCOs before the year’s end and is optimistic about the prospects.

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​Joan Aimuengheuwa is a content writer who takes keen interest in the scopes of innovation among African startups. She thrives at meeting targets and expectations. Contact: [email protected]

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