By Titus Mbithi
ECLOF Kenya, a microfinance institution (MFI) was incorporated in 1994 as a company limited by guarantee. The institution focuses on micro, small and medium entrepreneurs in provision of market-driven financial products and related non-financial services. ECLOF Kenya strongly ascribes to the tenets of both the social and financial impact, and would endeavour to maintain this state. It has branches and outlets in over 90% of the 47 Counties in Kenya. The MFI is part of ECLOF International network whose head office is in Geneva.
The company has a growing number of rural clients (mainly taking out group guaranteed loans) who are given training and business advice. The organization offers market-driven products to meet clients’ needs.
The board of ECLOF Kenya is properly constituted comprising of various expertise important to its business. The board is gender sensitive with a third of its members being women. All stakeholder groups including customers are represented in the board of directors.
Mary Munyiri, the CEO of ECLOF Kenya says that the organization currently has a client base of over 50,000 customers spread across the country and looks to even target new markets with its unique products.
ECLOF Kenya has taken the plunge into supporting entrepreneurs investing in differ¬ent sectors like agriculture, trade, manufacturing, business among others.
“We ensure that people are able to ac¬cess loans to invest in their projects,” Munyiri notes.
Agriculture sector is one of the major ar¬eas of focus for ECLOF Kenya with the Dairy value chain loan being one of the products accessible to small holder farmers. As the CEO elaborates, the loan enables small scale farmers to; purchase high milk yielding cows and feeds, construction of sheds, working capital, transportation, procurement of water and storage tanks, value addition training and management, pur¬chase of equipment, payment of labour and veterinary services.
The organization targets youth, women and men using the group methodology which enables people to access loans within a group and their colleagues as the collateral.
The higher education loan provided by the institution aims to provide financial support for students in their final year of study to enable them complete their studies. The loan has a grace period of 18 months and mostly targets those who miss out on funding by the Higher Education Loans Board.
“The higher education loan is a unique product which I think no other financial institution in the country offers more competitively.” Says Ms Munyiri.
Other products offered in the organization are School fees loan for all other levels of education, Burudika loan for festivals, Rembesha Nyumba loan for upgrading homes, Asset financing and Business loans.
With plans underway of transforming the organization into a microfinance bank, the organization is targeting new markets and upgrading its satellite offices in different parts of the country.
“Our offices in Mombasa are a springboard to reaching the larger coastal region and the satellite offices in Embu, Kapsabet, Kakamega and Ruiru are set for upgrades” adds Ms Munyiri.
The CEO urges the youth and other willing small entrepreneurs to form small groups and approach the organization within its various branch outlets. The groups will be able to get special financial training and thereafter access the different loans from the organization.
Ms Munyiri assures their existing and potential customers that “we will always be there for our customers, listening to them and tailoring our solutions to meet their needs, we shall ensure improved service delivery, affordable prices and be easily accessible”.
To the members of the public with business ideas and small businesses in need of funding, ECLOF Kenya has solutions to their financial needs in a well-managed and client centred organization.