Members of the Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco have welcomed a Sh10 billion deal signed over the weekend between the cooperative society and KCB.
The deal is meant to support their investment efforts in Kenya.
On Saturday, KCB’s Managing Director, Samuel Makome, and Kenya Diaspora Sacco (USA) Chairman, Frank Kioko, signed a memorandum of understanding in Atlanta, Georgia.
Soon after the signing ceremony, most members present told Nation.co.ke that the partnership would change the way they managed their financial affairs in Kenya.
“This is a great day for us as and we truly thank KCB for customising Diaspora loans to cater for our unique needs,” said Penny Macharia.
“We are very proud of what the sacco has achieved within its first year of its existence,” said Ms Christine Muchene of Marietta, Georgia.
And speaking to members of the sacco during its annual general assembly, Mr Makome said the money from the bank would immediately be available to registered members of the sacco who have identified projects that they would like to invest in.
“We encourage sacco members who are duly registered to apply for loans as the money will be available immediately,” he said.
Mr Makome, who was the guest of honour, said Kenya’s largest bank will fund the sacco over a period of between two to three years.
Analysts have hailed the signing of the MoU as an important milestone saying it opens up doors for direct investment in Kenya by those in the Diaspora.
They noted that even though most Kenyans living abroad have always wanted to invest back home, risks associated with fraud and lack of access to easy and cheap loans has been a big hindrance.
“The signing of the MoU is a master stroke because there are very many Kenyans living here in the US who have been waiting for such an opportunity,” said Mark Otieno, a Kenyan who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
Mr Makome asked members of the diaspora to embrace a culture of saving and investing in long-term projects.
“You must re-evaluate your investment methods. You have to learn from other diaspora communities that believe in a culture of saving as opposed to one of consumption. Our size of thinking is what limits us and what matters is what you think of yourself,” he said.
In his welcoming speech, the chairman of the sacco, Mr Kioko, said its management would embark on a comprehensive five-year strategic plan to steer the society in a direction that affirms its aspiration to become the biggest and most profitable in Kenya.
During the ceremony, the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Co-operatives, Stanley Ongeti, emphasised the need for the members to be disciplined in their savings and help turn the sacco into one of the biggest banks in the region.
“I encourage the committee to remember that the core value and responsibility of the sacco is to encourage members to invest their savings in the society so as to borrow between five and 10 shillings out of every one shilling that they invest in the society.”
In his financial Statement, the treasurer, Mr Ralph Kilondu, presented the sacco’s budget for the year 2014-2015 to enable the sacco effectively serve its members spread out in all the 50 states in the US and Kenya.
Also present during the function were Mr Peter Kathanga, General Manager, Mid Corporate, Vincent Aberi, the head of Diaspora Banking and Mr Winston Muchira, KCB Relationship Manager.