Arkutu Alexander Kwame
Arkutu Alexander Kwame is 68 years old and had been self employed. But about eighteen years ago he got blind and became unemployed. He has since been supported by a sister in Canada with monthly remittances through his son and life has not been all that favorable.
About 15 months ago he heard about Credit Unions when Mr. Hanson, CUA marketing officer was talking on Obonu Fm radio at Tema about the Credit Unions operations in Ghana. He outlined the benefits and how important is it to save for a brighter future in creating wealth. After the show, Mr. Kwame called Mr. Hanson on phone asking him questions about membership – especially in the gentleman’s difficult situation.
He later invited Mr. Hanson to his house in Newtown and together with all his children, “we talked a lot about the advantages of membership and that even loans and saving are insured”. After this visit Mr. Kwame was convinced and soon after this, his son registered for him at Madina Community Credit Union.
Now, he has a saving deposit of GH 240.00 and has GH 60.00 as shares. His daughter has also become a member in Tema. “We like the Credit Unions so much as they sometimes calls me to ask of my health and if I could come for financial assistance. I’m so happy to have heard about Credit Union and very thankful for the support! Now, I don’t have to worry.”
Maria, successful boutique owner from Salaga
“Before I joined the Salaga Farmers Credit Union (SFCU) I was a dressmaker and later became a petty trader who move from office to office to sell my goods. The first day I had contact with the manageress who in time became like a sister was the day I accompanied a friend to the credit facility. I was introduced to her as a petty trader and she advised me to start saves with them and also explained the benefits that I will enjoy as a member of the credit union. As at that time the CU was still at its infancy. The one day interaction that I had with the manageress gave me the moral to start saves and I must confess my decision has never been a regrettable but one that always remembered with joy and happiness.
Within the next three months I started taking loans from the credit facility and loll and behold my business started expanding until its present stage. With the expansion of my business I decided to stop the dressmaking (my original profession) and concentrated on the business. Again, with benefit I enjoyed and still enjoying I was motivated to encourage my sister Ayishatu Mahama, other family members as well as friends to also join. Today those that I also convinced to join the credit facility are now doing very well in their respective business.
Many people have complained about high interest rate but to me it is very moderate as compare to other credit facilities. You always have to be committed to the payment system per agreed in the loan contract and that is what I have being doing since I started enjoying loans from the SFCU .
To colleagues’ businessmen and women, the SFCU is not like other financial institutions where clients are left to manage their own businesses without managerial skills and advisory services provided. At the SFCU clients are time to time advised on how to engage in good business practices in order not to incur in-debtness but improve upon their businesses. To me the credit union is like second home where financial support is provided to its members when the need arises.
I am really grateful and blessed to be part of the Credit Union.”
Madam Maame Eduafoa
When the Credit Union came to Shama I wasn’t very interested but due to the persuasions of one of my relatives I joined. As you can see I’m quite old and not working so what I did was anytime I had some little money, I go and deposit it. This continued for a while but because my deposits were not significant I was not thinking about my balance.
One day, my grandson came home in tears saying he has been sacked from school for non-payment of fees and that he will not be allowed to write his exam. I became worried as I did not have any money to help. I however assured him that I will get the money which was about GHC 300.00.
With this I went to the CU manager, narrated my problem and pleaded for a loan. The manager called for my card and after a few minutes told me I can have the money and that I don’t have to take a loan since my balance was more than the loan I wanted to take. I couldn’t believe that I had that much since the highest deposit I remember making was GHC 10.00. I took the money, thanked the manager and went home. You can imagine how surprised my grandson was when I gave him the money for fees. He asked how I got it, knowing that I don’t have much. My answer was the Credit Union.
I will therefore advise those who have not joined to do so at the earliest opportunity since it is really a good source of help.
Ms Theo Annan Bassaw
Before joining the CU, I was a petty trader. My main intention was to use (Shama Co-operative Credit Union) SHACCU to obtain credit to increase the amount of wares I could buy. Within three months of accessing my first credit facility, I had grown my business to the extent that I could now go to Aflao (Togo) and buy my wares at a cheaper price.
Today, by regularly relying on loans from SHACCU, I now shuttle between Ghana and China. Mainly due to the help from the manager and staff at SHACCU, I’ve been able to grow my business from just a stall to an international enterprise.
My advice for members is that belonging to a CU is indeed a good thing. It is a family in the sense that when you go to the office with your problem, the manager and staff listen to you and advice accordingly.
On some occasions, I’ve heard people complain about the interest rate. As far as I know, you pay more interest only when you are not smart. What I do is I wait till I’m ready to leave then go for my loan; add it to my capital and travel to China. On my return, I distribute my goods and within a month what I collect will be enough to clear the loan I took. I then pay back the loan with very little interest. I’ll therefore advice that members go for loans only when they are ready to put it to a productive use. If you are a trader, anytime you sell, make sure you go to the bank to pay part of the loan instead of keeping the money with you. This way, you pay off the loan without even realizing that you’ve paid. Also you do not feel the brunt of the interest.
As far as I’m concerned, the advent of the CU in our community has created a facility for the poor to move out of poverty.