Saturday, August 27, 2005

FINANCE: Community micro-finance at work in Sagam



Photos: Top- Bank teller serving a client at one of the counters. Lower- Bank Manager, John Otieno Juma, standing in front of the bank office.

The Rabuor-Sinaga Area Community Fund (RSA-DT) is an effective and successful microfinance initiative that is truly community based and run. Started less than three years ago and without any external equity, the Bank has steadily grown in membership and currently boasts of over KSh. 3 million in equity, with over KSh. 1 million given out in loans to local businesses. The repayment rate, Gramin bank style, is almost perfect with no serious defaulter. The bank is steered by an elected Board of Directors. The founding and current Chairperson of the Board is Mrs Agatha Obare, a retired banker who has used her experience to ensure a clean operation. Zephania Owiro, a retired agriculturist, efficiently chairs the Credit Committee that assesses all applications for approval. The bank manager is John Otieno Juma
The bank was attacked one year ago by armed robbers who dug through the concrete walls into the strong room. They were however, disappointed to find that the vault was almost empty because the big money is kept by the Kenya Commercial bank. In anger they proceeded to attack the home of one of the Directors but were thwarted by the community. Rumor has it that the armed robbers were heard cursing the bank for being so poor and swearing never to waste time breaking into such 'poor community banks'. Security was beefed up and, true to their words, the robbers have not returned!
The community is very proud of this bank as it has created a new culture of saving. Many local teachers and hospital staff currently receive their salaries through the bank.

Photos: Top- Bank teller serving a client at one of the counters. Lower- Bank Manager, John Otieno Juma, standing in front of the bank office.

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