SMEP microfinance bank today held its 3rd General Meeting amid heightened optimism for even better prospects among its shareholders. The meeting that was attended by over 600 shareholders, came just a few months after SMEP was fully registered as a Micro Finance Bank. The development puts SMEP-a subsidiary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya- on a positive trajectory to become the Country’s first fully-fledged Christian bank.

Addressing the shareholders at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, NCCK’s General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said that the financial institution’s returns depends on how shareholders invest. “ We look forward to a pleasing future of SMEP microfinance bank and enable the church enter the banking industry as a player. The bible says he who sows sparingly reap sparingly, said Canon Karanja. He announced that the Council will dispose off 50% of its shareholding in SMEP microfinance bank aimed at complying with Central Bank’s pre-licensing conditions. He added that NCCK remained confident that based on its  firm foundation, SMEP microfinance bank will continue to grow and impact positively in the lives of the targeted Christian fraternity.

On her part SMEP microfinance bank’s Chief Executive Officer Phylis Mbungu said that the institution was now better placed in the market owing to various changes it had undergone. “ We made remarkable strides in the industry in our last financial year. Changes such as admission to the clearing house and national payment system, and authority to open and operate current accounts have enabled our potential and existing customers have a clear understanding of the roles of the transformed institution”, she said. 

While presenting the institution’s annual financial statement ending 31st December 2013, SMEP microfinance bank’s Chairman G Kivuti said that the board had recommended dividends that were expected to be paid to shareholders be reinvested by SMEP for improved financial performance in the current year.

Shareholders who spoke during the meeting said that SMEP had indeed lived upto its slogan of ‘Fulfilling Your Dreams’. I did not know what to do when I ran out of funds while constructing my house. But SMEP came to my rescue by giving me a loan that I used to finish my house”, said Eunice Njoroge. Her sentiments were echoed by Geoffrey Mutiso who said that SMEP had assisted him lay a foundation for economic prosperity. They however asked the institution to aggressively market its services across the country. Grace Awiti urged SMEP to relax some of its lending requirements. “It’s a noble cause but going forward let them make it easier for members to get loans even if its based on your total shares. The reason as to why I joined SMEP was for financial stability to enhance my social and economic status”, said Awiti.

Currently SMEP microfinance bank’s loans to customers stands at Ksh.1.8B, customers’ deposits at Ksh.1.25B and an asset base Ksh.2.49B. The shareholders’ equity is Ksh 651.8M with a total comprehensive income of Ksh47.7M.