• Chairman says move is meant to differentiate it from embattled Urithi Housing Cooperative.
• Most customers who are members of both entities sought a refund of the money they used to buy plots through the housing cooperative.
The rebranding of Urithi Housing Cooperative Society is a camouflage to hide its tainted identity, according to members of the affiliated Urithi Premier Sacco.
They claimed the rebranding was meant to confuse customers to invest their shares in a ‘sinking’ ship.
The sacco changed its name to Anchor Premier Sacco during its AGM on Saturday. Chairman Pius Thuku Ndung’u said the change was meant to allow new customers to differentiate between the sacco and the housing cooperative.
He said it was also meant to appeal to new customers seeking financial services.
Ndung’u was at pains to convince customers who sought answers on low dividend rates and why it has been difficult to access loans in time.
“The business environment has been difficult not only for us but to all companies. A big number of our customers have withdrawn from the sacco, which is a concern to us; but we hope the rebranding will increase customer confidence,” he said.
Most of the customers who are members of both entities sought a refund of the money they used to buy plots through the housing cooperative.
Embu resident Moses Kisindi, who bought land through Urithi Housing, said despite paying Sh350,000 two years ago at Ishiara, they are yet to be given the land.
“We are losing our fortunes to the suspicious activities of these two entities. We call for investigations to prevent them from causing harm to more customers,” he said.
Gladys Muthoni and Catherine Njoroge feared they might lose their savings from the rebranded entity, saying they had no confidence in the management.
“Instead of looking for other dynamics to increase asset base and valuation like engaging in land selling, improving its technology and train workforce for better services, they have rebranded just to confuse us and new customers,” Muthoni said.
Ndung'u, however, assured that the organisation would soon recover from the hard business environment.
He said they intend to change its structure and streamline activities to expand membership and asset base.
“So many people fail to distinguish between the two. Ours is a sacco whose functions are limited to savings and giving out loans. It is not an investment company,” he said.
He said the negative publicity that the housing branch has received over the years has affected the sacco.
The sacco had about 8,000 customers and is valued at Sh560 million, though more than 3,000 members were withdrawing.