The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Unaitas Sacco Sets Sight On Property Financing

Unaitas Sacco, which rebranded from Muramati Sacco last year, has set sight on the country's fast-growing real estate market with a view to financing developers.

The co-operative society has unveiled a "project-based loans" drive, targeting individuals and chamas (investment groups) venturing into property development for sale or letting.

Borrowers will use their properties as collateral to secure the loans, which will be financed either once-off or in a phased arrangement. It is also targeting accomplished landlords, helping them to use their current income flows to develop new properties.

"The project-based loans product is meant to support our members to grow with us. It is a sort of 'special project' loan product which is tailored to the specific project, for individuals and chamas," said Mercy Njoroge, the micro-finance co-ordinator at Unaitas.

The loan facility is being extended at 11.9 per cent a year, translating to less than a percentage point a month. Borrowers are granted a three-month grace period after completion of their projects before they can start servicing the loans.

Unaitas's asset base has risen to an estimated Sh5.1 billion, as membership (shareholders) increased to about 130,000. The largest single project financing it has extended so far under the project-based loan is Sh60 million. All its loan products range from one to five per cent in monthly interest rate.

The Sacco's chief executive officer Tony Mwangi said it has drawn up a five-year strategic plan, in which one of the targets is to have presence in all 47 counties from seven presently.

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