Despite the global financial crisis and tight liquidity in the local market, the Savings and Credit Cooperative for Rwandan teachers, Umwarimu SACCO, managed to post a pre-tax profit of Rwf116.4m last year from Rwf6.6m in 2008, the cooperative said in its annual report.
The audited financial results of the cooperative also indicate that there was an 18 percent rise of members from 34, 537 teachers in 2008 to 42,017 in 2009 which boosted savings by 46 percent from Rwf827.9 million to Rwf1.5 bn.
“The year 2009 reflected real progress towards establishing Umwarimu SACCOO, a strong SACCO irrespective of the global financial slowdown,” Robert S. ASIIMWE, acting General Manager of Umwarimu SACCO said in his message to the shareholders.
The report shows that in the period under review members’ access to loans and advances grew by 75 percent from Rwf783.4m to Rwf3.1bn occasioned by the aggressive marketing strategies and efficient loan processing system the cooperative has employed.
However, the evolution of the cooperative members was not as good as expected, due to the retrenchment of some teachers at the beginning of the 2009 academic year.
“The advent saw these teachers withdraw their membership from the cooperative since they were no longer able to raise the member’s monthly savings,” Board Chairman Jean Marie Vianney Nzagahimana said in the report.
Although the report portrays positive performance, it also indicates challenges in running its activities which include delays in loan recoveries based on district delay to process teachers’ salary, high costs of information sharing, inadequate infrastructure and the capacity to cater for short-term loans among others.
Operating expenses rose Rwf435.5m to Rwf707.5m as provisions for loan losses rose to Rwf56.2m from 7.5m.
“We have to accept that the economic challenges facing us will extend to 2010 and so there is a continuing need to re-examine the way we do business to remain strong and competitive. As a financial institution, we have to accept that being risk-averse is at the core of what we do; our strength lies in recognizing the problems, addressing them, learning and moving forward,” said Nzagahimana
The cooperative seeks to transform teachers in the country into middle class citizens by 2020. It currently operates in 16 districts with the target to cover the remaining 14.