Teachers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative- Umwalimu Sacco, registered a profit of Rwf 9.8 billion between January 2021 and November 2021, according to the latest figures released on Thursday, December 30th.
It represents revenue growth of Rwf4bn, compared to Rwf 5.9 billion produced in the same period in 2020, after it dropped from Rwf 6.7 billion in 2019.
The progress was announced at the 23rd ordinary general meeting which brought together representatives of elementary and secondary teachers from across the country.
Laurence Uwambaje, Director General of Umwalimu SACCO attributed the growth to the reopening of schools and the fact that more teachers have gotten jobs and are now leading the way in cooperative banking.
“Like other financial institutions, we have also been affected by the pandemic. For example, there are teachers in private schools who have difficulty repaying the debts they took out after losing their jobs, which is why we registered a decline last year.
“However this year, as the government built more schools, and took in more teachers who lost their jobs, the cooperative gained new members which pushed up the cooperative’s revenue,” he added.
Uwambaje added that despite the pandemic, the cooperative exceeded the profit projections they had expected Rwf15 billion over three years, but instead earned Rwf 21 billion in revenue.
In terms of getting the loan, the cooperative has paid Rwf 80 billion from Rwf 50 billion over the past three years, and the value of its assets has grown almost twice to Rwf 110 billion from Rwf 60 billion in 2019.
Reduction in lending rates and increase in repayment period
Damien Nsanabandi, a teacher from Nyagatare District raised the issue of high interest rates when it comes to accessing loans, and bank charges on savings accounts that sometimes encourage members to save of more or simply opening bank accounts.
On this issue, Umwalimu SACCO Director General Laurence Uwambaje said the cooperative has decided to reduce 2 per cent interest rates on emergency loans.
“We decided to reduce the loan interest from 16 per cent to 14 per cent, our goal as a bank is to benefit our members, and most of our members can take out an emergency loan which has ultimately become a burden on them. Because at high rates, that’s why we reduced it, “she said.
He added that the cooperative has raised the mortgage repayment period from 4 years to 5 years.
Improving digital services
“Now we have a business plan for the next three years, and our top priority is enhancing our digital services to help our members easily access financial services” Uwambaje said.
Steps to be taken to digitalize these services include the launch of the Umwalimu SACCO Mobile App, interoperability services, introduction of Western Union transfers, internet banking that will allow schools to easily access financial statements. , an online portal for parents to pay their children’s school fees. , Among others.
“The pandemic has taught us to be digital oriented, with these new services our members will still be able to access banking services no matter what happens, especially now that we are still facing the pandemic,” he added.
Celestin Uwimana, a high school teacher who attended the meeting praised the digital initiatives to be implemented by the cooperative.
“We hope that these services will make our lives easier, from accessing loans to paying for schools without having to go to the bank is a huge help to us” he said.
The cooperative has also launched the “Nguriza Nige” loan program that will allow teachers to get loans so that they can pay their children’s school fees, Rwf 8 billion will be put into the program.